Presleep activities and time of sleep onset in children

Louise Foley, Ralph Maddison, Yannan Jiang, Samantha Marsh, Tim Olds, Kate Ridley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    58 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVE: Presleep activities have been implicated in the declining sleep duration of young people. A use-of-time approach may be used to describe the presleep period. The study aims were to describe the activities undertaken 90 minutes before sleep onset and to examine the association between activities and time of sleep onset in New Zealand young people. METHODS: Participants (N = 2017; 5-18 years) self-reported their time use as part of a national survey. All activities reported in the 90 minutes before sleep were extracted. The top 20 activities were grouped into 3 behavioral sets: screen sedentary time, nonscreen sedentary time, and self-care. An adjusted regression model was used to estimate presleep time spent in each behavioral set for 4 distinct categories of sleep onset (very early, early, late, or very late), and the differences between sleep onset categories were tested. RESULTS: In the entire sample, television watching was the most commonly reported activity, and screen sedentary time accounted for ~30 minutes of the 90-minute presleep period. Participants with a later sleep onset had significantly greater engagement in screen time than those with an earlier sleep onset. Conversely, those with an earlier sleep onset spent significantly greater time in nonscreen sedentary activities and self-care. CONCLUSIONS: Screen sedentary time dominated the presleep period in this sample and was associated with a later sleep onset. The development of interventions to reduce screen-based behaviors in the presleep period may promote earlier sleep onset and ultimately improved sleep duration in young people.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)276-282
    Number of pages7
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


    • Adolescent
    • Child
    • Sleep
    • Television


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