Children who struggle to go to sleep on their own and struggle to stay asleep are more likely to have problems adjusting to school, new research reveals.

The research from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) also found one in every three Australian children have escalating sleep problems from when they are born to the age of five.

ABC news reports, the new research revealed how important it is to establish good sleeping behaviour in children.

Dr Kate Williams analysed the sleep behaviour of almost 3,000 children born in 2004 until they reached six to seven years of age.

She said while infants can be difficult with sleep, typically that issue resolves over time.

But for 30 per cent of the children experiencing behavioural sleep problems, the issue was not resolved.

“For those 30 per cent that continued to have problems, teachers later reported them as being the children having the most trouble adjusting to school,” Dr Williams said.

Dr Williams said reports from teachers of hyperactivity and emotional outbursts were more common in the children with behavioural sleep issues.

Dr Williams said parents should be persistent and consistent around sleep and bedtimes.

She said families struggling should seek help, and hopes increased awareness about sleep behaviour and its impact on children will encourage parents, carers and child care workers to try to identify and address issues before children reach school age.

“Ironing them out is important for school adjustment,” Dr Williams said.

How much sleep?

average sleep

Where to go for help?

You can chat to your GP, MCHN or ring Tresillian on 1300 2 PARENT or jump online for support.

Are your children good sleepers?

Share your comments below.

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  • We are very strict with bed time and generally my kids are great sleepers but if one of the older ones has even a 10 min nap (generally in the car) then they will be in and out of bed 20 times before going to bed.


  • Lke bg


  • I’ve always been for rhythm and regularity. We’re blessed with quite good sleepers. My 11 year old sleeps around 10 hours, my 10 year old is an early bird (like I was/am myself as child and adult) and sleeps around 9 hours, my 6 year old sleeps 11 hours and my 2 year old sleeps around 14 hours.


  • lack of parental consistency has a lot to do with it. Meal times have to be at consistant times so that children digest food enough to feel comfortable when trying to go to sleep, not have an uncomfortable tummy. Some people are naturally light sleepers, unfortunately me being one too. When I minded a friend’s baby overnight, I woke up before she woke up enough to cry but she was moving about in her crib. We weren’t in the same room.


  • interesting that it has proved lack of sleep = lack of consistency in behavioural things.


  • Sleep is so important. My daughter has always been a good sleeper. Now that she’s in high school she doesn’t get more than 9 hours of sleep, often just 8 and half. But when she was in primary school she used to sleep 10 hours each night.


  • Lke it


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