This knowledge path directs readers to a selection of current, high-quality resources
about sleep in infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant women. This knowledge path can be used by health professionals, researchers, educators, community advocates, and families to learn more about sleep, to improve diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, for program development, and to locate training resources and information to answer specific questions. Separate briefs present resources for families and schools. This knowledge path has been developed by the six national Pediatric Pulmonary Training Programs and the MCH Library at Georgetown University, all of whom are funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). It will be updated periodically.
Sleep is an important component of daily life for people of all ages, with
children spending an average of 30 percent to 50 percent of their day sleeping.
Sleep is especially important for infants, children, adolescents, pregnant women,
and new mothers. Good sleep is essential to a well-functioning family. Poor
sleep and/or sleep disorders in children can have an impact on the child and the entire
family. Infants, children, and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to sleep disorders and are at higher risk than adults for getting insufficient sleep. Sleep problems are increasingly being recognized as a public health issue with ties to obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and poor school performance. Underserved populations are at higher risk for sleep problems. Health professionals, families, and communities need to be knowledgeable about how to improve sleep and be able to recognize sleep disorders.
General Resources for Professionals
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Sleep medicine practice tools and guidelines and information about membership, accreditation, coding, and legislation. Some information is accessible to members only, including journal articles and a state policy directory. Patient education brochures, learning modules, webinars, and some other materials
are available for a fee. Also see AASM's blog.
- Healthy People 2020. National health-promotion and disease-prevention initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). View the overview, objectives, and recommended interventions and resources for sleep health.
- National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR). Initiative to coordinate government-supported sleep research, training, and education. NCSDR is located within the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). See the SLEEPRFA-L listserv and a publications list.
- National Sleep Awareness Roundtable (NSART). National coalition of government, professional, voluntary,
and other organizations that aims to address public and professional awareness
and education about sleep and sleep disorders. NSART is a program of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
- National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Information about sleep and sleep disorders in infants, children, adolescents,
and pregnant women. Includes findings from the Sleep in America polls, which address topics such as technology use and sleep, adolescents and
sleep, and children and sleep. NSF is an independent nonprofit organization
dedicated to achieving a better understanding of sleep and sleep disorders
and supporting education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.
Additional Electronic Publications
See the following set of MCH Library resource briefs to identify additional data and statistics, literature and research, and programs about sleep and sleep disorders.
News and Commentary
Resources for Families
Resources for Schools
- See the MCH Library school resource brief Sleep.
Resources on Specific Aspects of Sleep
Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, and Stress
- Children's Anxiety Institute: Sleep Habits Can Affect Levels of Stress and Anxiety
in Children and Teens. Information about the relationship between sleep and stress and anxiety levels.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: Sleep. Information for families about sleep in children and adolescents and early onset of bipolar disorder. Links to information about the importance of sleep, getting a good night's sleep, depression and sleep, and sleep tools.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). Resources for families, educators, health and social services professionals,
policymakers, and the media about child and adolescent traumatic stress, effective
interventions, data, and terrorism and disaster preparedness to lessen traumatic
effects. Several items broadly address sleep difficulties as a behavior associated with exposure to trauma.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Bruxism, Parasomnias, and Rhythmic Movement Disorder
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
- American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA): Children's Sleep Apnea. Information about sleep apnea in children. Includes a directory of pediatric sleep specialists and an online support forum for pediatric sleep apnea.
- Cataletto ME, Lipton AJ, Murphy TD. 2011. Childhood Sleep Apnea. New York, NY: WebMD LLC. [Article].
- KIDSAPNEA.COM. Information about obstructive sleep apnea in children and its causes, consequences, and treatment. Topics include failure to thrive and orthodontics. KIDSAPNEA.COM was developed and is maintained by Allen J. Moses, D.D.S.
- Childhood obesity is associated with sleep apnea. See the MCH Library knowledge path, Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents for resources about the prevention, identification, management, and treatment of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents.
- Breus MJ. 2011. Co-Sleeping Neither Helps nor Hurts Child Development. New York, NY: WebMD LLC. [Article]. Please note: This article addresses bed sharing
when a child is 1, 2, and 3 years old. It also refers to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation against bed sharing with infants under age 1 because of the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Cleveland Clinic: Sleep and Children. Information about sleep and encouraging healthy sleep practices by age group: infants, toddlers and preschoolers, school-age children, and adolescents.
- First Candle: Bedtime Basics. Information and materials for this educational outreach campaign to help prevent infant deaths caused by unsafe sleep practices including bed sharing. Resources include
Room Sharing Is Safer Than Bed Sharing/ˇCompartir la Habitación Is Mejor Que
Compartir la Cama! (2010). [Brochure].
- National Sleep Foundation: Sleep Hygiene. Information and examples of healthy sleep practices. Includes information about adolescents.
- National Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child Death and Pregnancy Loss Resource
Center: Safe Sleep. Information for parents, caregivers, and health professionals about safe sleep
for infants, including bed sharing. Materials include
Helping Baby "Back to Sleep" (rev. ed.). (2009). [Brochure]. Also available in Spanish.
Hot Topics in Infant Safe Sleep: An Interactive Workshop with Rachel Moon, M.D. (2011). [Webinar from the ASIP-Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance 2010 International Conference on Perinatal and Infant Death].
Safe Sleep for Your Baby Around the Clock: Birth to 12 Months (rev. ed.). (2009). [Brochure]. Includes information about bed sharing.
- Also see the sleep environment section of the Infant Mortality and Pregnancy Loss knowledge path.
Related MCH Library Resources
- Autism Spectrum Disorders knowledge path, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Challenges in Children and Adolescents
knowledge path, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Health Insurance and Access to Care for Children and Adolescents knowledge path, family resource brief
- Infant Mortality and Pregnancy Loss knowledge path (Includes a section about sleep environment), family resource brief
- Medications resource brief
- Overweight and Obesity in Children and Adolescents knowledge path, family resource brief, school resource brief
- Preconception and Pregnancy knowledge path, family resource brief
- Reaching Out to Children and Youth Following Disasters resource brief
- Screening resource brief
- Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents knowledge path,
family resource brief, school resource brief
Sleep in Infants, Children, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women:
Knowledge Path. (October 2011). (Updated: January 2013).
Authors: Susan Chauncey Horky, L.C.S.W., M.S.W., University of Florida; Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., MCH Library; Mary H. Wagner, M.D., University of Florida.
Contributors: Kristen Hedger Archbold, R.N., Ph.D., University of Arizona; Candace Dreier, R.R.T., University of Wisconsin; Carla Salldin, Parent Consultant, University of Washington; Sarah Walker, M.S., M.P.H., R.D., University of New Mexico.
Reviewers: Jeanne Anastasi, M.A., National Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child
Death and Pregnancy Loss Resource Center; Olivia Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., MCH Library.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., MCH Library.