Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 1370-1370


  • Kristin T. AvisAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, Pulmonary Division, University of Alabama at Birmingham Email author 


Normal sleep; Sleep architecture; Sleep stages; Sleep structure


Sleep is one of a child’s primary activities from infancy to adolescence. Sleep in infancy and childhood is often thought of as a passive, inert, or isolated state, but it is actually a very active, physiological state that is influenced by a multitude of factors.


Sleep is significantly influenced by a wide array of behavioral, developmental, health, environmental, social and emotional factors, and characteristics of and sleep practices of both the caregiver and child (see Fig. 1). Sleep is necessary for children to function at their optimal level, and lack of sleep can affect numerous aspects of their growth, health, behavior, and development, as well as overall quality of life.
Sleep. Fig. 1

(Adapted with permission from Jodi Mindell.)

Remarkable changes occur in sleep patterns from infancy to adolescence. In early infancy (0–2 months), the typical sleep requirement is ...

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