Factors associated with insomnia and complementary medicine use in children: results of a national survey

Ezra M. Cohen, Michelle L. Dossett, Darshan H. Mehta, Roger B. Davis, Yvonne C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Sleep difficulties are a serious health problem in children, and interest in using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to treat sleep is growing. In this study, we aimed to identify: the prevalence of sleep difficulties in children, and the prevalence and patterns of CAM use among children with trouble sleeping. Methods: We used the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) dataset to estimate the prevalence of sleep difficulties and CAM use in children ages 6–17 years. Prevalence estimates were weighted to reflect the survey's sampling design. We used logistic regression to explore associations between sleep difficulties, psychosocial factors, comorbidities and CAM use. Results: 6.4% of children in the 2012 NHIS dataset reported regular difficulty sleeping in the last year, corresponding to an estimated 1.5 million children in the US. Older age, poorer health status, more missed school days, and multiple comorbidities were all associated with sleep difficulties (p ≤ 0.001). Among children with sleep difficulties, 29% used at least one CAM therapy. Of the CAM therapies surveyed, non-vitamin, non-mineral supplements were the most commonly used (14.6%), followed by manipulation therapies (9.2%) and mind-body techniques (8.8%). Parental education and CAM use were most strongly associated with child CAM use (p ≤ 0.001). Conclusions: CAM therapies, particularly non-vitamin, non-mineral supplements, are commonly used among children with sleeping problems. More research is needed to characterize the safety and efficacy of CAM therapies for sleep in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Insomnia
  • Integrative medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Sleep medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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