Poster Topical Area: Obesity

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 652

P23-025 - Getting Enough ZZZZs: Focus Groups with Elementary School Kids About Sleep

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM


Getting adequate sleep can lead to healthier weights, yet kids' perceptions of the importance of sleep and related barriers and facilitators remain unknown.


Thus, kids (6 to 11 years) completed a survey (n=194) and 44 participated in focus groups on sleep. Two trained researchers content analyzed focus group data.


Surveyed kids had a set bedtime 5.24±2.21SD days/week. Focus groups revealed that kids felt sleep is very important to having energy throughout the day to play with friends and stay awake in school. Kids reported when they do not get enough sleep, they feel angry or irritable during the day. Kids agreed that parents feel that sufficient sleep is important to for good health and learning. Barriers to falling asleep at night included loud noises (parent TV watching especially scary or violent shows, pets, siblings getting ready for bed) and activities distracting them from sleep (video games, toys, TV). Some reported that nightmares interrupted their sleep at night. To overcome sleep barriers, kids thought parents should establish a "before bed" routine, try to soothe kids when they are scared of the dark or wake up from bad dreams, and use a timer to remind kids that it is bedtime. Facilitators to getting to bed on time included having an established bedtime routine (brush teeth, use bathroom before bed), reducing distractions, talking about the importance of sleep, and creating a relaxing environment (sing a lullaby, read, play music, offer stuffed animals, use a nightlight). Kids agreed that parents' own nighttime behaviors affect their sleep. Even though parents are the enforcers of bedtime, their nighttime habits can interfere with their kids' sleep (making food, watching TV with volume too loud, snoring). Kids feel that they affect parents' sleep by waking them up for help; they also said that they can interfere with their siblings' sleep by keeping them up later then their bedtime.


Future nutrition education materials should help parents understand the links between sleep and weight and encourage them to establish a bedtime routine, create a relaxing sleep environment, have a set bedtime, and overcome barriers (loud or scary noises, activities) that prevent kids from getting adequate sleep.

Funding Source:

United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Grant Number 2017-680001-26351

CoAuthors: Kaitlyn Eck – Rutgers University ; Karla Shelnutt – University of Florida; Melissa Olfert – West Virginia University; Carol Byrd-Bredbenner – Rutgers University; Colleen Delaney – Rutgers University

Colleen Delaney

Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey