Cross-cultural comparison of maternal sleep

Jodi A. Mindell*, Avi Sadeh, Robert Kwon, Daniel Y.T. Goh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To characterize cross-cultural sleep patterns and sleep problems in a large sample of mothers of children (ages birth to 6 years) in multiple predominantly Asian and predominantly Caucasian countries. Methods: Mothers of 10,085 young children (predominantly Asian countries/regions: China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand; predominantly Caucasian countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States) completed an internet-based expanded version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Results: Mothers in predominantly Asian countries/regions had later bedtimes, decreased number and duration of night wakings, more nighttime sleep, and more total sleep than mothers from predominantly Caucasian countries, P < 0.001. More than half (54.7%) of mothers reported having poor sleep, ranging from 50.9% of mothers in Malaysia to 77.8% of mothers in Japan. Sleep disturbance symptoms were quite common, especially symptoms related to insomnia, and were more likely to be reported by mothers in predominantly Caucasian countries. However, psychosocial factors, including having children of a younger age, being unemployed, and having a lower education level were the best predictors of poor sleep, whereas culture was not a significant predictor. Conclusions: Overall, mothers in predominantly Asian countries/regions reported later bedtimes but sleeping better and longer than mothers from predominantly Caucasian countries, which is dissimilar to cross-cultural findings of young children. Psychosocial factors were found to be the best predictors of poor sleep, irrespective of culture. Further studies are needed to understand the impact of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1699-1706
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • Adult
  • Cross-cultural
  • Maternal
  • Mother
  • Sleep


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