Dissonance Between Parent-Selected Bedtimes and Young Children's Circadian Physiology Influences Nighttime Settling Difficulties
Article first published online: 14 NOV 2013
© 2013 International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Mind, Brain, and Education
Volume 7, Issue 4, pages 234–242, December 2013
How to Cite
LeBourgeois, M. K., Wright, K. P., LeBourgeois, H. B. and Jenni, O. G. (2013), Dissonance Between Parent-Selected Bedtimes and Young Children's Circadian Physiology Influences Nighttime Settling Difficulties. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7: 234–242. doi: 10.1111/mbe.12032
- Issue published online: 14 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 14 NOV 2013
- National Institute of Mental Health. Grant Numbers: K01-MH074643, R01-MH086566
- Sepracor, Inc.. Grant Number: ESRC026
Nighttime settling difficulties (i.e., bedtime resistance, sleep-onset delay) occur in about 25% of young children and are associated with attentional, behavioral, and emotional problems. We examined whether the timing of internal (endogenous) circadian melatonin phase (i.e., dim light melatonin onset; DLMO) and its relationship with parent-selected bedtimes were related to nighttime settling behaviors. Fourteen regularly napping preschoolers (8 females; 30–36 months) participated in a 6-day protocol (parent-report of nighttime settling, actigraphic assessment of sleep onset latency, evening salivary DLMO). Average DLMO clock time was 07:40 p.m. ± 00:48 minutes, occurring 29 minutes ± 32 minutes prior to bedtime (lights-out). Children with later DLMOs had longer sleep-onset latencies (r = .62) and poorer success in falling asleep (r = −.59). Children whose bedtimes were closer to their DLMO had longer sleep-onset latencies (r = .72) and increased bedtime resistance (r = −.54). We conclude that dissonance between parent-selected bedtimes and children's circadian physiology may contribute to the development of nighttime settling difficulties in early childhood.