Oral Presentation Joint Annual Scientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society of NZ and the Nutrition Society of Australia

Relationship between caffeine consumption and sleep in Australian children (272)

Millie Watson 1 , Siobhan Banks 2 , Mark Kohler 2 , Alison Coates 3
  1. Centre for Sleep Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  2. Centre for Sleep Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia
  3. Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA

Background: Currently Australia does not have caffeine intake guidelines.  Using 24-hr recall, the 2007 National Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey found that children 9-13y consumed on average 19.2mg caffeine/day.  However, little is known about caffeine consumption and its impact on sleep in children.  This study assessed caffeine consumption and sleep in school aged children.   

Methods: Children aged 8-12y (10.7±1.3y, 49% male) were recruited through South Australian schools and the community for a retrospective, cross sectional study. Demographics, caffeine intake (a Food Frequency Questionnaire), and daytime sleepiness (Paediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale) were obtained via child and parent report. 

Results: Data from 230 children demonstrated daily caffeine intake ranged between 0–64.1mg (7.8±11.7mg).  Gender did not impact caffeine intake (p=0.97).  74% of 8 year olds consumed caffeine (8.0±10.5mg), 78% of 9 years olds (8.3±9.6mg), 72% of 10 year olds (10.1±13.5mg), 83% of 11 year olds (9.7±13.4mg) and 87% of 12 year olds (12.6±13.2mg).  25% (n=58) of the sample consumed between 11.1mg (~Standard chocolate bar) and 64.1mg (~one small latte) of caffeine/day.  Daily caffeine consumption had a significant relationship with age (r=0.14, p=0.03) and daytime sleepiness (r=0.14, p=0.03).  Children who were in the top 25% of caffeine consumption had significantly higher daytime sleepiness compared to the remaining 75% of the sample, p=0.05.   

Conclusion: These findings show that majority of children aged 8–12y consume caffeine.  The study also shows a significant relationship between caffeine intake and daytime sleepiness in children, with greater caffeine consumption associated with more daytime sleepiness.