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date: 24 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Millions of children worldwide live in environments of collective and interpersonal violence. Living in such settings profoundly affects many children’s sleep, with effects sometimes persisting for substantial periods of time. The relevant scientific literature, coming mainly from the field of traumatic stress, has focused primarily on the presence of insomnia and nightmares—core diagnostic criteria of traumatic stress disorders. However, studies examining other sleep parameters, particularly those few using objective measures of sleep, also show negative effects in a range of sleep indices. Also, though understudied, the available literature indicates that violent settings may alter the sleep environment itself, as children and families move (or are forced to move) to other, often “makeshift,” environments. Families may also modify the sleep environment to try to increase their safety, make the environment more conducive to sleep, or both. Directions for future research are given to better understand how violent environments shape children’s sleep and how best to mitigate these effects.

Keywords: children, adolescents, collective violence, interpersonal violence, sleep, environment

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