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The Relative Importance of Sleep Duration and Bedtime Routines for the Social-Emotional Functioning of Chinese Children

Ren, Lixin PhD*,†; Hu, Bi Ying PhD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: May 30, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000693
Original Article: PDF Only

Objective: Although the importance of sleep has been widely supported by empirical research, researchers have only recently linked sleep to children's social-emotional development. This study aimed to investigate 2 aspects of sleep—namely, sleep duration and bedtime routines—in relation to the social skills and problem behavior in a group of Chinese school-aged children.

Method: This study involved 228 Chinese children (mean age = 8.32 years). Parents reported their child's sleep duration, the consistency of bedtime routines, and social-emotional functioning.

Results: Both sleep duration and the consistency of bedtime routines had unique contributions to children's social-emotional functioning. Sex differences were found regarding the sleep-child adjustment link. Sleep duration was negatively associated with child problem behavior for both boys and girls. However, the relationship between bedtime routines and social skills was more pronounced for boys, while the relation between sleep duration and social skills was more evident for girls.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight the importance of consistent bedtime routines and adequate sleep for the social-emotional development of Chinese school-aged children.

*Faculty of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China;

Collaborative Innovation Center for Assessment Towards Basic Education Quality, Beijing, China;

Faculty of Education, University of Macau, Macao, China.

Address for reprints: Lixin Ren, PhD, Faculty of Education, East China Normal University, 3663 North Zhongshan Rd, Tian Jia Bing Bldg, Room 501, Shanghai 200062, China; e-mail:

This study was supported by the University of Macau (Multi-Year Research Grant; MYRG2015-00156-FED).

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Received November 10, 2018

Accepted April 17, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.