Sleep and behavioral/emotional problems in children: a population-based study

S. Carvalho Bos*, A. Gomes, V. Clemente, M. Marques, A. T. Pereira, B. Maia, M. J. Soares, A. S. Cabral, A. Macedo, D. Gozal, M. H. Azevedo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The potential relationships between sleep-wake behaviors and emotional/disruptive problems in otherwise healthy school-aged children are unclear. Methods: A parental questionnaire was developed for the epidemiologic survey of children's sleep and wake behavioral patterns. The questions covered a wide range of features including sleep length (school days, weekends), time to fall asleep, night awakenings, bedtime and nighttime sleep-related behaviors, daytime sleepiness, irritability, and tiredness. To assess psychiatric symptomatology, the Rutter Scale B2 was completed by teachers. In addition to the total score, sub-scores of emotional, hyperactivity, and conduct problems were obtained. The representative population sample comprised 779 children (403 girls), with an age range of 6-11 years. Results: Hyperactivity and conduct problems at school in boys were both associated with parental reports of bedtime resistance. Hyperactivity was also associated with longer sleep duration during weekends. Conduct and emotional problems in girls were associated with earlier bedtime during school days. Emotional problems in girls were also associated with longer sleep durations in school days and weekends. Conclusion: Bedtime resistance was the only sleep behavior associated with either hyperactivity or conduct problems in children, and longer sleep durations appear to occur more frequently in children with both hyperactive or emotional problems. Information about good sleep hygiene at bedtime may help parents setting sleep limits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bedtime resistance
  • Behavioral/emotional problems
  • Primary-school aged children
  • Rutter scale B2
  • School days/weekends
  • Sleep problems


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