To find out if childhood adversities predict poor sleep quality in working age.
Survey data from the Health and Social Support (HeSSup) study was used (N=25,605, 59% women). Negative childhood adversities and quality of sleep in adulthood were assessed by the questionnaire in 1998. Multinomial regression models were used.
A graded association between childhood adversities and the quality of sleep in adulthood was found. Odds ratio (OR) of poor quality of sleep for those with multiple childhood adversities (3-6) was 3.64 (95% CI 2.94-4.50). The association between childhood adversities and the quality of sleep remained significant after adjustments for work status, use of psychotropic drugs, health behaviours, recent life events and child-parent relationships. Poor quality of sleep was clearly increased among those with both poor child-mother (OR 10.4, 95% CI 6.73-16.07) or poor child-father (OR 5.4, 95% CI 3.89-7.50) relationships and multiple childhood adversities. In the analyses of specific childhood adversities, frequent fear of a family member and serious conflicts in the family showed the strongest associations.
The strong association between childhood adversities and the quality of sleep in adulthood highlights the importance of early life circumstances on adult health. Early stage recognition, prevention and supportive measures against childhood adversities and serious family conflicts should be promoted.