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OBJECTIVE: During childhood sleep duration, quality and patterns evolve and change greatly and relate strongly to healthy development. This systematic review aims to summarize the literature on sleep characteristics in the Italian pediatric population, adopting a cultural perspective. METHOD: Pubmed, PsycINFO and Medline databases were systematically searched. Eligible studies had to: include Italian children and adolescents; report data for one or more sleep-related variables; be published in English or Italian. RESULTS: Twenty-nine studies were selected including 18551 Italian children or adolescents. Studies were categorized by age group: infancy and toddlerhood (0-3 years); preschool and school age (3-12 years); adolescence (12-18 years) and mixed age groups. Overall, studies showed that the Italian pediatric population present shorter sleep duration and longer sleep onset latency compared to international recommendations. Furthermore, data indicate high prevalence of dysfunctional sleep habits, such as late bed-time (all age groups), involvement of parents during bed-time (infancy and toddlerhood), and high variability between sleep times on week-days vs. weekends (adolescence). Nevertheless, most studies lacked comprehensive data on sleep patterns, focusing instead on isolated variables. CONCLUSION: These results suggest a strong trend among Italian children and adolescents towards unhealthy sleep patterns. Comprehensive data are still lacking and large studies evaluating a broad range of sleep characteristics in Italian pediatric populations are needed. Data strongly suggest that Italian Pediatric Primary Care should place higher focus on sleep problems and implement clinical protocols directed towards improving sleep patterns in children and adolescents.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Neuropsychiatry

Publication Date





119 - 136


italian, pediatric, sleep characteristics, sleep habits, systematic review