Sleep characteristics of young children in Japan: Internet study and comparison with other Asian countries

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Background:A recent international Internet-based study of young children (birth to 36 months) found that total sleep duration in Japan was the shortest among 17 countries/regions. The present study compared features of children's sleep in Japan relative to those in other Asian countries/regions.Methods:Parents of 872 infants and toddlers in Japan (48.6% boys), and parents of 20 455 infants and toddlers in 11 other Asian countries/regions (48.1% boys; China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam) completed an Internet-based expanded version of the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire.Results:Young children in Japan exhibited significantly fewer nocturnal wakings and shorter daytime sleep in comparison with other Asian countries/regions. Although the former finding was apparent in all age groups, the reduced duration of daytime sleep in Japan was not present until after 3 months of age. Interestingly, sleep problems were reported by significantly fewer parents in Japan compared with those in other Asian countries/regions, although parents in Japan reported significantly more difficulty at bedtime.Conclusions:The short sleep duration of young children in Japan is largely due to a relatively short duration of daytime sleep. Significant differences in sleep characteristics in Japan relative to other Asian regions were found primarily after 3 months of age. Future studies should further explore the underlying causes and the potential impacts of these sleep differences.

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