The contribution of sleep in 'Closing the Gap' in the health of Indigenous children : a commentary
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by D Camfferman, Sarah BlundenSarah Blunden
Objective: Research on Indigenous children’s sleep quality is likely to play a significant part in ‘Closing the Gap’ between Indigenousand non-Indigenous children’s health, academic performance and social outcomes. However, examination of the sleep of Australian Indigenous children presents some unique challenges, particularly in terms of community input, study design and in the collection of relevant data. Methods: The current literature on Indigenous sleep research is reviewed and includes factors such as mental and physical health, socioeconomic disadvantage, and their relationships to sleep. Challenges encountered in researching Indigenous sleep and strategies for best practice are explored. Conclusions: Many challenges exist in researching sleep in Indigenous children, but the imperative of undertaking this task is clear. An assessment of the sleep of Australian Indigenous children requires a thorough evaluation of factors that contribute to sleep health such as co-morbid disease, regional factors and social disadvantage. Methodological issues include appropriate assessment tools, affordable and objective sleep quality measures, accounting for differing cultural beliefs and practices and timekeeping associated with bedtimes and get-up times.