STUDY OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to examine (1) relationships among implementing a bedtime routine, nighttime awakenings, and nighttime sleep duration in toddlers from low-income, minority families and (2) differences in maternal and household characteristics between mothers who did versus those who did not implement a nightly bedtime routine for their toddler.
METHODS: Data were collected from mothers of toddlers on maternal and household characteristics and toddler sleep, measured using the Children's HealthWatch Survey and the Extended Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BISQ). A path analysis model was tested to investigate whether nighttime awakenings mediated the relation between implementing a bedtime routine and toddlers' nighttime sleep duration. Chi-square tests were conducted to examine differences in maternal and household characteristics (ie, maternal depressive symptoms, food, housing and energy insecurity) between mothers who did versus those who did not implement nightly bedtime routines over the past 2 weeks.
RESULTS: Implementing a bedtime routine was associated with longer toddler sleep duration through a decrease in nighttime awakenings (β = 5.04, 95% confidence interval = 0.61 to 11.35). More consistent sleep routine implementation was associated with fewer nighttime awakenings and longer sleep duration. Maternal depressive symptoms, housing insecurity, and food insecurity were associated with decreased likelihood of implementing a nightly bedtime routine.
CONCLUSIONS: Maternal depressive symptoms, food insecurity, and household insecurity (factors associated with low socioeconomic status) may be associated with a negative sleep environment and poor toddler sleep quality, potentially because of decreased implementation of bedtime routines.
COMMENTARY: A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 821.