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Mahendran R, Vaingankar JA, Mythily S, Cai YM
Correspondence: Dr Rathi Mahendran, email@example.com
Introduction Co-sleeping or bed-sharing is a common practice that has been little researched. While often viewed as being "cultural" in nature, there is a suggestion that it may be a parental response to sleep problems. Some studies link co-sleeping with behavioural and temperamental difficulties. The objectives of the current study were to determine the prevalence of co-sleeping and how they relate to sleeping problems among a cohort of children and adolescents seen in a child guidance clinic.
Methods Parents or guardians of all new patients seen at the child guidance clinic were asked to complete a questionnaire upon their consent to participate in the study. The questionnaire included socio-demographical data and frequency of sleep problems in the past six months. A list of nine common sleep problems was included.
Results The prevalence of co-sleeping was found to be 72.7 percent. The children who co-sleep were significantly younger and there was a decrease in the practice with increasing age. Sleep starts and nightmares were significantly more among those sleeping alone.
Conclusion Co-sleeping was not associated with significant sleep problems in our cohort. Co-sleeping may have been initiated in response to an existing sleep problem but eventually resolved the problem. If co-sleeping is not permitted, the sleep problem could be compounded, giving rise to a higher prevalence of sleep starts and nightmares among those in our cohort who slept alone.
Keywords: adolescents, bed-sharing, child guidance, co-sleeping, sleep problems
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(11): 957-959