Sleep ecology and sleep patterns among infants and toddlers: a cross-cultural comparison between the Arab and Jewish societies in Israel

Ghadir Zreik, Kfir Asraf, Liat Tikotzky, Iris Haimov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine differences in reported sleep patterns (eg, sleep onset, nocturnal sleep duration, nocturnal wakefulness) and aspects of sleep ecology (eg, sleeping arrangements), in a sample of young children, between two cultural groups in Israel: Arab and Jewish. Method: Mothers of 497 healthy, typically developing infants and toddlers, ranging in age from 3 to 36 months, participated in the study: 253 of the mothers were Arab and 244 were Jewish. The mothers were asked to complete the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire – a well-validated questionnaire of early childhood sleep patterns. Mothers also completed a demographic questionnaire. Results: Substantial cross-cultural differences in reported sleep patterns were found between Arab and Jewish children. Arab children, compared to Jewish children, had later bedtimes, shorter overall night duration, and longer periods of nocturnal wakefulness. Furthermore, Arab mothers perceived their children's sleep as more problematic than did Jewish mothers. Arab families were more likely to room-share, with higher rates of maternal involvement at bedtime. Sleep onset played an important role in predicting nighttime sleep in Arab children; in the Jewish group, nighttime sleep was linked to parental proximity and assistance at bedtime. Conclusion: The findings emphasize the importance of deepening the understanding regarding the role of culture in infants sleep patterns. This will enable health care professionals to attune their interventions to the specific cultural context. Further studies are needed to understand the basis and impacts of these cultural differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalSleep Medicine
Volume75
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Cross-cultural
  • Infants
  • Sleep
  • Sleep ecology
  • Sleep patterns
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)

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