Presleep arousal and sleep disturbances in children

Alice M. Gregory, Thomas A. Willis, Luci Wiggs, Allison G. Harvey, Thalia C. Eley, Rosie Buttery, Philipa Carter, Jenny Cox, Megan Crawford, Jessica Holland, Helen Matthews, Rosie Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: To determine if associations between presleep arousal and sleep disturbance reported in adults are also characteristic of children. Design: Linear regression analyses examined whether somatic and cognitive presleep arousal predicted sleep disturbances. Setting: Two inner city schools, London, UK. Participants: One hundred twenty-three children aged 8 to 10 years, 49% boys, from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Interventions: N/A. Measurements and Results: Children completed the Sleep Self-Report and the Pre-sleep Arousal Scale (comprising somatic and cognitive subscales). Parents completed the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire. In separate models, both somatic (β = 0.44, P < 0.001, R2 = 0.19) and cognitive (β = 0.48, P < 0.001, R2 = 0.23) presleep arousal predicted the Sleep Self-Report total score. Somatic (β = 0.28, P <.01, R2 = 0.08) and cognitive (β = 0.37, P < 0.001, R2 = 0.14) arousal also predicted Sleep Self-Report insomnia items in separate models. These results were partially replicated when using the parent report of the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire. When somatic and cognitive items were included in the same models, cognitive but not somatic arousal significantly predicted (most definitions of) sleep disturbance. Conclusions: Cognitive, and to a lesser extent somatic, presleep arousal appears to be associated with sleep disturbances in children. This suggests that further research into cognitive aspects of sleep disturbance in children is warranted - as incorporating this information into treatments may eventually prove fruitful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1745-1747
Number of pages3
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2008


  • children
  • cognitive processes
  • insomnia
  • presleep arousal

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