With up to 40 per cent of children experiencing a range of sleep problems, parents are turning to specialised devices and smartphone apps, although it is unknown if the information from such devices accurately reflects their children’s sleep.
Dr Sarah Biggs, Department of Paediatrics at the School of Clinical Sciences, said sleep problems could lead to poor daytime behaviour and learning difficulties.
“Gaining access to a clinical paediatric sleep assessment can be difficult due to limited availability in the public health system and recently there has been a surge in the public popularity of commercial sleep assessment devices which claim to provide users with a better understanding of their sleep,” she said.
Doctors are also taking an interest in these devices as they may provide a useful tool to screen for sleep disorders.
Dr Sarah Biggs, in conjunction with the Melbourne Children’s Sleep Centre, undertook a study of 80 children who attended the centre over a period of six months.
“We asked the children to wear a Jawbone UP® and an actiwatch, a device commonly used by sleep experts to assess sleep and wake patterns over time, during a diagnostic sleep study at the Centre.”
At the same time, a smartphone, with a sleep application activated (MotionX® 24/7), was also placed underneath the bottom bedsheet, near the child’s shoulder, for the entire night.