Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Improving sleep health in early childhood

Sally Staton, PhD


BACKGROUND: Sleep problems are estimated to effect between 20-30% of children internationally, with immediate and longer-term impacts on physical health, learning, behavior and family functioning. Current evidence identifies early childhood as a critical period for intervention strategies to avert sleep problems and establish positive lifetime health trajectories.

GAP: Childcare is an integral part of most children’s early life experience, and provides a point for promotion of sleep health and early interventions for sleep problems. The benefit of early intervention in childcare to improve sleep health and address specific sleep problems has not been previously tested.

HYPOTHESIS: This study aims to examine the fidelity of conducting a gold standard RCT of an educator focused professional development sleep intervention program in childcare settings in reducing the sleep problems in young childhood. It is hypothesized that children in the program group will demonstrate a larger mean reduction in the severity and/or incidence of objectively measured sleep problems from pre- to post- intervention when compared to those in the control group.

METHODS: This study will integrate objective measurement of sleep patterns and sleep problems via actigraphy to a concurrent randomized control pilot trial aimed at improving educator sleep practices in childcare. Pre- and post- intervention actigraphy (N=30 sites; N=150 children aged 0-5 years) will be used to measure 24-hr sleep-wake patterns continuously across a 1-week period.

RESULTS: Pending

IMPACT: If successful, this trial will lead to the application of a gold standard RCT study to provide evidence to support implementation into Australian childcare practice.

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