Objective: This study aimed to provide the first estimate of sleep knowledge, practices, and attitudes regarding paediatric sleep in Australian health professionals. Methods: 263 Australian health professionals (medical practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, pharmacists, dentists and sleep coaches) completed an anonymous survey. Results: Clients with sleep disorders were commonly encountered by health professionals, yet professionals reported little time spent on clinical training in sleep medicine at the undergraduate (∼1–5 hrs) or postgraduate (∼0.5–3.5 hrs) level. Health professionals reported seeking continuing professional development (CPD) in sleep (∼6+ hrs), and CPD had the most influence on health professionals’ practice, relative to other sources of information. Over half of health professionals (∼56–58%) reported that they were not trained in sleep measurement (i.e., sleep diaries and questionnaires), or how to take a sleep history. On average, professionals answered less than half (44.5%) of paediatric sleep knowledge questions correctly (M = 13.35, SD = 6.03). Approximately one third of health professionals reported not routinely screening for sleep disorders in paediatric patients and many did not routinely recommend evidence based treatments. The impact and importance of paediatric sleep was well recognised, but sleep was considered less important than a healthy diet and exercise. Conclusions: Results from the current study highlight key knowledge gaps regarding paediatric sleep across a wide range of Australian health professions, and may inform future efforts to reform clinical sleep medicine training in Australia.
- Clinical practice
- Sleep disorders