Infant Sleep and Parent Health Literacy

Published:March 12, 2016DOI:



      Child sleep problems are prevalent and have been linked to poor behavior, worse school performance, and obesity. Low health literacy (HL) is associated with suboptimal parenting practices and worse health outcomes, but the relationship between parent HL and child sleep-related issues is not known. We examined the association between parent HL and child sleep-related issues.


      This was a cross-sectional analysis of data from caregivers enrolled in a cluster randomized trial of a primary care-based child obesity prevention program in 4 pediatric clinics. Parent HL was assessed using the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults. At the 9-month well-child visit, sleep-related factors were assessed: presence of TV in room where child sleeps, regular naptimes and bedtimes (≥5 days/wk), low daytime and nighttime sleep duration (>1 SD below mean on the basis of national data). Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.


      We enrolled 557 caregivers of 9-month-old children (49.7% Hispanic, 26.9% black, 56.2% <$20,000 annual income); 49.6% reported having a TV in the room where their child sleeps; 26.6% did not have regular naptimes norbedtimes. Median sleep duration was 2.3 (interquartile range, 1.5–3.0) hours (daytime), and 9.0 (interquartile range, 8.0–10.0) hours (night) (30.2% low daytime; 20.3% low nighttime sleep duration). Children of parents with low HL were more likely to have a bedroom TV (66.7% vs 47.7%, P = .01; adjusted odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–4.3) and low night-time sleep (37.0% vs 18.5%; P = .002; adjusted odds ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–4.8).


      Low parent HL is associated with TV in the bedroom and low night sleep duration. Additional study is needed to further explore these associations and intervention strategies to address child sleep problems.


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