What are the determinants of children's sleep behavior? A systematic review of longitudinal studies

Laura S. Belmon, Maartje M. van Stralen, Vincent Busch, Irene A. Hamsen, Mai J.M. Chinapaw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


To develop evidence-based healthy sleep interventions for children, this review provides insight into the behavioral determinants of sleep behavior. Hence the objective of this review is to systematically review the longitudinal evidence on determinants of children's sleep behavior. Studies were identified from searches in PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science, until January 2017. Longitudinal studies investigating the association between potential determinants and sleep behavior (duration, quality and timing) in healthy children aged 4–12 years were included. The methodological quality was scored and the results were summarized using a best-evidence synthesis. We followed the PRISMA statement guidelines in order to summarize the evidence accurately and reliably. Twelve of the 45 included studies were rated as ‘high quality’. We found strong evidence for child age and moderate evidence for screen time, past sleep behavior, and a difficult temperament as determinant of sleep duration. For determinants of sleep quality, evidence was either insufficient or inconsistent. We found moderate evidence for week schedule as a determinant of sleep timing, with later bed- and wake times in weekends. More high quality studies, which are extensive, collaborative, and multidisciplinary, are needed into the determinants of all dimensions of sleep behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
Number of pages11
JournalSleep Medicine Reviews
Early online date12 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Childhood
  • Children
  • Correlates
  • Determinants
  • Sleep
  • Sleep duration
  • Sleep quality
  • Sleep timing

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