Feasibility of a Single-Subject Protocol to Shift Young Children’s Sleep Schedules


The objective of this study is to describe children’s adherence to changing sleep schedules within a small-scale, single-subject, at-home sleep manipulation experiment. Subjects were six healthy children (male = 4, ages 6–8). Children underwent: baseline, a 7-day self-selected sleep pattern; Condition A1, a 3- to 12-day stabilized sleep pattern (assigned time into/out of bed set at baseline averages); Condition B, a 3- to 12-day phase-delayed sleep pattern (time into/out of bed 2 h later than Condition A); and Condition A2, a 3- to 7-day return-to-stabilized sleep pattern (time into/out of bed at Baseline averages, identical to Condition A1). All children completed conditions. Per parent report, adherence to assigned time into/out of bed was good; sleep onset/offset adherence was variable. Within this small-scale, short-term sleep manipulation, children effectively got into/out of bed at assigned times despite manipulating sleep schedules by 2 h. However, they struggle to shift their sleep onset and offset times to match the time they were in bed.

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University of Florida’s Shands/UF Health Auxiliary Scholarship, awarded to second author Kendra Krietsch, Ph.D.

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Correspondence to Rachel S. Fisher.

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Rachel S. Fisher, Kendra N. Krietsch, and David. M. Janicke declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Fisher, R.S., Krietsch, K.N. & Janicke, D.M. Feasibility of a Single-Subject Protocol to Shift Young Children’s Sleep Schedules. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 26, 541–549 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-019-09604-8

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  • Pediatric
  • Circadian
  • Bedtime
  • Methods
  • Experimental