4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/07/2013   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All  



For the purpose of this survey, duration of sleep was calculated as time between going to bed and the last time waking up.

‘Time went to bed’ was defined as time the light was turned off with the intention of going to sleep, as it can be difficult to ascertain the time the when sleep actually commences. ‘Time woke up’ was defined as the last time waking up.

A typical night's sleep was considered to reflect the approximate pattern and/or number of hours that occurs on that same night of the week over time.


Information was collected for selected children aged 5 to 17 years and selected adults 18 years and over in the NNPAS.


Following the sedentary behaviour questions in the 5-17 years and adult physical activity modules, respondents were asked about sleep behaviour on the previous night, including:

  • time went to bed
  • time woke up
  • whether this was a typical night's sleep for that night of the week.
    If it was identified as not a typical night's sleep, respondents were asked whether the sleep was more, less, or have no typical sleep pattern. The latter category was to be used in instances where there was definitely no regular pattern of sleep, due to sleep disorders or similar circumstances. This was not to be used to describe sleep that varied by only a few hours per night.

    Data Items

    The data items and related output categories for this topic are available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


    Point to be considered in interpreting data for this topic includes the following:
    • Sleep time is calculated as time first turned off the lights with the intention of going to sleep until the last time a respondent woke up. Total sleep time may therefore not accurately depict actual hours slept in situations where a long time was taken to fall asleep and/or waking up during the night.

    Comparability with other surveys

    The specific questions comprising this topic have not previously been collected in an ABS survey.

    Several surveys, both within Australia and internationally, have collected similar data, primarily as part of diary collection which collect time got up and time went to bed. Comparisons with the AHS should be made with caution where there are different collection methodologies or where different definitions are used for these two concepts.

    Previous PageNext Page