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Sleep disturbance and insomnia in children: The relationships between children’s sleeping habits, pre-sleep arousal and sleep-related attentional bias

Bowyer, Kimberley (2014) Sleep disturbance and insomnia in children: The relationships between children’s sleeping habits, pre-sleep arousal and sleep-related attentional bias. Oxford Brookes University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Although sleep disturbances are commonly reported among children, little is understood about the processes associated with childhood insomnia. Adult models of insomnia have suggested that cognitive arousal and sleep-related attentional bias are two processes associated with insomnia. The present study aimed to investigate the relationships between children’s sleeping habits, pre-sleep arousal and sleep-related attentional bias. Parents of children, aged 7-11, completed the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire, and children completed the Pre-sleep Arousal Scale, and a visual-dot-probe task in order to investigate whether children reported to have insomnia and children with more broadly defined ‘sleep disturbance’ demonstrate greater sleep-related attentional bias and report greater cognitive than somatic arousal than children without sleep disturbance. It was found that children with sleep disturbance demonstrated greater sleep-related attentional bias than children without sleep disturbance; there was no significant difference between the attentional bias scores of children with and without insomnia; children with both high sleep disturbance and insomnia reported greater cognitive than somatic arousal; there was no significant differences between the reporting of cognitive arousal by children with and without sleep disturbances; and that there was no association between attentional bias and cognitive arousal scores. Further research is needed with a clinical population.

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