Objective. A series of studies were conducted to investigate pediatricians' training, knowledge, and practices regarding sleep and sleep disorders in children and adolescents.
Method and results. Study 1, a national survey of 156 pediatric residency programs, found that pediatricians receive a mean of 4.8 hours of instruction on sleep and sleep disorders, although the mode and median hours of instruction is 0 hours. In Study 2, 88 pediatricians completing a questionnaire concerning general knowledge about sleep disorders in children and adolescents received a mean score of 71.8% (range, 40% to 93%). Pediatricians appear to know the most about developmental issues and sleep hygiene and the least about specific disorders such as narcolepsy and parasomnias. In the third study, 183 pediatricians were surveyed about their actual beliefs and practices regarding young children's sleep problems. Together, those surveyed reported that approximately 25% of their patients experience some type of sleep problem. Most pediatricians recommend behavioral interventions, although 14.8% of pediatricians report prescribing pharmacological treatments, and 48.9% inform parents that their child is likely to outgrow the problem.
Conclusions. The results of these studies support the need for more education in sleep and sleep disorders in children and adolescents within medical schools, pediatric residency programs, and the practicing pediatric community.
- Received August 19, 1993.
- Accepted January 21, 1994.
- Copyright © 1994 by the American Academy of Pediatrics