The Physical Home Environment and Sleep: What Matters Most for Sleep in Early Childhood

Caroline P. Hoyniak, John E. Bates, M. Catalina Camacho, Maureen E. McQuillan, Diana J. Whalen, Angela D. Staples, Kathleen M. Rudasill, Kirby Deater-Deckard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The physical home environment is thought to play a crucial role in facilitating healthy sleep in young children. However, relatively little is known about how various features of the physical home environment are associated with sleep in early childhood, and some of the recommendations clinicians make for improving child sleep environments are based on limited research evidence. The present study examined how observer and parent descriptions of the child’s physical home environment were associated with child sleep, measured using actigraphy and parent’s reports, across a year in early childhood. The study used a machine learning approach (elastic net regression) to specify which aspects of the physical home environment were most important for predicting five aspects of child sleep, sleep duration, sleep variability, sleep timing, sleep activity, and latency to fall asleep. The study included 546 toddlers (265 females) recruited at 30 months of age and reassessed at 36 and 42 months of age. Poorer quality physical home environments were associated with later sleep schedules, more variable sleep schedules, shorter sleep durations, and more parent-reported sleep problems in young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-769
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Early childhood
  • Home environment
  • Machine learning
  • Physical environment
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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