Dr Sally Staton was awarded a competitive NHMRC Early Career Fellowship to examine the impact of childcare environments on children’s sleep health and their contribution to sleep problems, sleep-associated behavioural difficulties and their resolution.

Sleep has been described as the single most important activity of the brain during early childhood and serves a crucial function in brain development. From the first months of life, sleep is associated with growth, behavioural regulation, physical and emotional health, and learning.

Childcare settings are increasingly a part of young children’s lives and an environment that can influence sleep patterning and quality. The focus of Sally’s research is children aged under three years whose diverse sleep needs present complex demands in group-care settings. She is examining how childcare environments influence children’s sleep patterns and behaviours, including interactions with sleep health at home. Her research will deliver the first international population-based evidence on the role of childcare in supporting sleep health in the early years of life and provide much needed guidance for National Quality Standards that legislate for appropriate provision for sleep and rest.


  • Examine childcare sleep practices and their associations with children’s sleep health
  • Identify behavioural markers of children with sleep problems in childcare settings

Project team

Dr Sally Staton

Project details

Duration: June 2017 - November 2020

Partners: National Health and Medical Research Council

Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship

Contact: Dr Sally Staton (s.staton@uq.edu.au)