The sleep patterns and problems of clinically anxious children

Jennifer L. Hudson*, Michael Gradisar, Amanda Gamble, Carolyn A. Schniering, Ivone Rebelo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Childhood sleep problems have been associated with a range of adverse cognitive and academic outcomes, as well as increased impulsivity and emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression. The aim of the study was to examine subjective reports of sleep-related problems in children with anxiety disorders during school and weekend nights. Thirty-seven children with clinically-diagnosed anxiety disorders and 26 non-clinical children aged 7-12 years completed an on-line sleep diary to track sleep patterns across school nights and weekend nights. Anxious children reported going to bed significantly later (p = 0.03) and had significantly less sleep (p = 0.006) on school nights compared to non-anxious children. No significant differences in sleep onset latency, number of awakenings or time awake during the night, daytime sleepiness, or fatigue were found between the two groups. On the weekends, anxious children fell asleep quicker and were less awake during the night than on weeknights. School-aged anxiety disordered children showed a sleep pattern that differs from their non-anxious peers. Although the mean 30 min less sleep experienced by anxious children may initially seem small, the potential consequences on daytime performance from an accumulation of such a sleep deficit may be significant, and further investigation is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-344
Number of pages6
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • sleep problems
  • sleep patterns
  • anxiety disorders
  • sleepiness
  • fatigue
  • children


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