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Catching some zzz’s – Sleep, Sleep Hygiene, and Wellbeing

Catching some zzz’s – Sleep, Sleep Hygiene, and Wellbeing

Whilst sleep has an important role in maintaining health and wellbeing, the amount of sleep required to maintain good ‘sleep hygiene’ varies for children across different ages (Bruce et al., 2017; GOSH, 2024). It is very common for children and young people to have trouble sleeping, with one or two nights of poor sleep not necessarily predicting sleep problems (Owens, 2014; Sivertsen et al., 2017). However, when poor sleep persists over a few weeks and subsequently causes significant distress and impacts a child or young person’s daily functioning then this may be a sign of a sleep problem or sleep disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2020).

The major categories of sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep-related breathing disorders, central disorders of hypersomnolence, circadian-rhythm sleep-wake disorders, parasomnias, sleep related movement disorders and other sleep disorders. It is reported that problems falling asleep, frequent awakenings, or insufficient sleep affects about 30% of children aged 1-12 years old, and insomnia affects more than 10% of the adolescent population (Chen et al., 2023; Kocevska et al., 2023).

With sleep problems posing their own health concerns (as sleep plays a key role in many functions such as promoting growth and cognitive development), poor sleep is also recognised as a common symptom for many mental health conditions in young people. Most psychiatric disorders are associated with disrupted or altered sleep and this can exacerbate the symptoms of many mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety (Bruce et al., 2017; DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In addition, sleep disturbances appear to be one of the most common co-occurring conditions in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, with sleep difficulties affecting up to 70% of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Begum-Ali et al., 2023; Sciberras et al., 2023).

This World Sleep Day (15 March) we encourage you to explore the learning opportunities available on our website and learn more about the importance of sleep health in children and young people. Help us to raise awareness of sleep health through sharing with your networks and colleagues.



  • (Launched for World Sleep Day 2024) Podcast ‘Predicating Responses to Insomnia Prevention Programme in Subgroups of At-Risk Adolescents’ with Dr. Si-Jing Chen 
  • (Launched for World Sleep Day 2024) Podcast ‘The BAby’s Sleep Questionnaire: Infant Sleep and Parental Understanding and Misperceptions’ with Professor Sooyeon (Aly) Suh
  • Podcast ‘Melatonin Use and the Risk of Self-Harm and Unintentional Injuries in Youths’ with Dr. Marica Leone
  • Podcast ‘Sleep and Daily Suicidal Ideation Among High-Risk Adolescents and Young Adults’ with Dr. Jessica Hamilton and Dr. Peter Franzen

Lectures, talks, and discussions

  • Open Access ‘The role of sleep in adolescent mental health – Presented by Dr. Faith Orchard as part of the ‘Professor Judy Dunn Webinar Series’

Topic Guides

Open Access papers from ACAMH journals

  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘Are some children genetically predisposed to poor sleep? A polygenic risk study in the general population’, (November 2023), Desana Kocevska, Katerina Trajanoska, Rosa H. Mulder, M. Elisabeth Koopman-Verhoeff, Annemarie I. Luik, Henning Tiemeier, and Eus J.W. van Someren
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘Subtyping at-risk adolescents for predicting response toward insomnia prevention program’, (October 2023), Si-Jing Chen, Shirley Xin Li, Jihui Zhang, Siu Ping Lam, Joey Wing Yan Chan, Kate Ching-Ching Chan, Albert Martin Li, Charles M. Morin, Yun Kwok Wing, and Ngan Yin Chan
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘The interaction between polygenic risk and environmental influences: A direct test of the 3P model of insomnia in adolescents’, (October 2023), Juan J. Madrid-Valero, Nicola L. Barclay, and Alice M. Gregory
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘Report from a randomized control trial: improved alignment between circadian biology and sleep–wake behavior as a mechanism of depression symptom improvement in evening-type adolescents with depressive symptoms’, (August 2023), Lauren D. Asarnow, Adriane Soehner, Emily Dolsen, Lulu Dong, and Allison G. Harvey
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘Variation in sleep profiles in children with ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and associated clinical characteristics’, (June 2023), Emma Sciberras, Harriet Hiscock, Samuele Cortese, Stephen P. Becker, Julian W. Fernando, and Melissa Mulraney
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘Infant sleep predicts trajectories of social attention and later autism traits’, (March 2023), Jannath Begum-Ali, Louisa K. Gossé, Luke Mason, Greg Pasco, Tony Charman, Mark H. Johnson, Emily J.H. Jones, and The STAARS Team
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘Melatonin use and the risk of self-harm and unintentional injuries in youths with and without psychiatric disorders’, (March 2023), Marica Leone, Ralf Kuja-Halkola, Tyra Lagerberg, Johan Bjureberg, Agnieszka Butwicka, Zheng Chang, Henrik Larsson, Brian M. D’Onofrio, Amy Leval, and Sarah E. Bergen
  • JCPP Original Article ‘The effects of a sleep-focused smartphone application on insomnia and depressive symptoms: a randomised controlled trial and mediation analysis’, (March 2023), Aliza Werner-Seidler, Sophie H. Li, Samantha Spanos, Lara Johnston, Bridianne O’Dea, Michelle Torok, Lee Ritterband, Jill M. Newby, Andrew J. Mackinnon, and Helen Christensen
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the JCPP ‘The role of inflammation in the prospective associations between early childhood sleep problems and ADHD at 10 years: findings from a UK birth cohort study’, (January 2023), Isabel Morales-Muñoz, Rachel Upthegrove, Kate Lawrence, Rasiah Thayakaran, Sandra Kooij, Alice M Gregory, and Steven Marwaha
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from the CAMH journal ‘Adolescent sleep, distress, and technology use: weekday versus weekend’, (December 2022), Alexander Reardon, Kurt Lushington, and Alex Agostini
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from JCPP Advances ‘More frequent naps are associated with lower cognitive development in a cohort of 8–38-month-old children, during the Covid-19 pandemic’, (July 2023), Teodora Gliga, Alexandra Hendry, Shannon P. Kong, Ben Ewing, Catherine Davies, Michelle McGillion, and Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from JCPP Advances ‘Sub-types of insomnia in adolescents: Insights from a quantitative/molecular twin study’, (May 2023), Juan J. Madrid-Valero, Frühling Rijsdijk, Saskia Selzam, Helena M. S. Zavos, Melanie Schneider, Angelica Ronald, and Alice M. Gregory
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from JCPP Advances ‘Clinical Review: Sleep disturbance as transdiagnostic mediator between adverse childhood experiences and psychopathology in children and adolescents: A structural equation modeling meta-analysis’, (March 2023), Jianlin Liu, Wen Lin Teh, Rachel Hsiao Shen Tan, Yoke Boon Tan, Charmaine Tang, Nisha Chandwani, and Mythily Subramaniam
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from JCPP Advances ‘Examining bidirectional associations between sleep and behavior among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder’, (March 2023), Craig A. Sidol, Stephen P. Becker, James L. Peugh, James D. Lynch, Heather A. Ciesielski, Allison K. Zoromski, and Jeffery N. Epstein
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from JCPP Advances ‘Sleep parameters and problems in adolescents with and without ADHD: A systematic review and meta-analysis’, (March 2023), Finja Marten, Lena Keuppens, Dieter Baeyens, Bianca E. Boyer, Marina Danckaerts, Samuele Cortese, and Saskia Van der Oord
  • ACAMH Featured Paper from JCPP Advances ‘Prenatal alcohol exposure and child sleep problems: A family-based quasi-experimental study’, (November 2022), Ingunn Olea Lund, and Eivind Ystrom

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