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Custody Arrangements Affect Youth Sleep Habits, Study Shows

Sarah Shoen

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Sarah Shoen, News Writer

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Children with separated parents may be more likely to have more difficulty falling asleep, social jet lag, and later bedtimes, according to a new study.

The Sweden-based study surveyed more than 11,000 student participants ages 11 to 15 about their sleep habits and home dynamics. Researchers aimed to study sleep differences among children of separated parents in these household custody arrangements:

  • Equally shared custody
  • Not equally shared custody
  • Sole custody

Researchers found that when custody was shared but not equal, children were more likely to report difficulties going to sleep as well as a greater likelihood of having social jet lag. This occurs when varying sleep routines on weekdays and weekends makes it more difficult to adjust to daily activities.

The study also found that children who lived in one household with one parent were more likely to have later bedtimes and social jet lag.

“Living in two households with potentially two different parenting regimens and sleep routines may affect children’s sleep,” researchers said.

Custody arrangements may vary because of co-parenting schedules, legal arrangements, conflict, or other factors. Researchers looked at how unpredictability may impact children’s sleep patterns when they are spread across two households.

Researchers said the findings of this study illustrate the importance of family factors when addressing children and teen sleep issues.

There are various sleep strategies that may help children maintain good sleep health. Parent involvement in bedtime routines and establishing consistent bedtimes for both the parent and child can support healthy sleep habits, as children learn through parent modeling.

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About Our Editorial Team

Sarah Shoen

News Writer

Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.


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