Reduced sleep duration has been implicated in a range of negative and consequential physiological and psychological daytime problems. Detection strategies such as polysomnography, actigraphy, and subjective reports have been utilised to assess paediatric sleep patterns such as sleep duration, and problems in both clinical and non-clinical samples. Although objective assessments have more validity in assessing and diagnosing sleep disorders, subjective sleep reports are commonly used for screening sleep patterns and disturbance in large scale community studies. In the past few years several studies have studies explored the accuracy of subjective measures in estimation of sleep duration by comparing them with objective measures. This review examined and evaluated the paediatric literature dating from 1992 comparing subjective sleep measures (sleep diaries and/or questionnaires) to objective measures (PSG and/or actigraphy) of sleep duration. These studies suggest subjective sleep reports are valid for screening, but are less consistent in estimating sleep pattern variables such as sleep duration, night wakings, and sleep onset latency. Understanding the congruence between subjective and objective measures in large studies may advance understanding of the validity of subjective sleep measures, an important factor given the integral role of self-report in large scale community research and the negative daytime sequelae associated with reduced sleep.
Keywords: Sleep, paediatrics, sleep diary, actigraphy, sleep questionnaire, polysomnography
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