Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sleep Studies

Yesterday I did a post citing some primary research on the effect of tv on infants. In doing the research for that post, I came across some articles on the effect of tv and infant sleep.

Sleep is an issue for us. I have been mentally preparing myself for "when I'm off" because that means the start of sleep training.

I have been instilling very bad habits in her, in order to cope and be functional for work. That excuse goes out the window in about two weeks, and I no longer have any reason to continue the actions that keep her (and I) from sleeping well.

In preparation for our "sleep training", I have been reading. I have three books coming that I ordered from Amazon, all guaranteed to have my baby sleeping through the night in no time.

I happened to notice, when my research on tv and my research on sleep converged, that the author of one study is also the author of one of the books I ordered, a book that came highly raved and recommended by a good friend.

So today, with just a few minutes between classes, I look further into the studies published by her.

The first one I look at is a recent publication (last year) on the benefits of a bedtime routine on the sleep duration and night wakings of infants and toddlers. The abstract sounds great.

RESULTS: The bedtime routine resulted in significant reductions in problematic sleep behaviors for infants and toddlers. Significant improvements were seen in latency to sleep onset and in number/duration of night wakings, P < 0.001. Sleep continuity increased and there was a significant decrease in the number of mothers who rated their child's sleep as problematic.


CONCLUSION: These results suggest that instituting a consistent nightly bedtime routine, in and of itself, is beneficial in improving multiple aspects of infant and toddler sleep, especially wakefulness after sleep onset and sleep continuity, as well as maternal mood.

The article is one of the few that are free, so I pull up the full article and look for this magic bedtime procedure that works so well in the study.

The procedure:

the mothers were instructed to institute a nightly 3-step bedtime routine for a 2-week period that included a bath (using a provided wash product), a massage (using a provided massage product), and quiet activities (e.g., cuddling, singing lullaby), with lights out within 30 minutes of the end of the bath. All mothers were provided with the same products in unmarked containers. Mothers continued to put their child to bed as they normally did, whether they put their child to bed awake or stayed with their child until asleep (e.g., rocked to sleep).

Hmmm ... unmarked containers? No consistency in the *how* of putting them to sleep? Only that they all use the same product? In unmarked containers.

Scroll down to find ...
This study was supported by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. Dr. Mindell has consulted for and participated in speaking engagements for Johnson & Johnson. The other authors are employees of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.

Disclosure is a good thing. You know those purple bottles of J&J Nighttime Bath stuff that says "clinically proven" to help your child sleep? This study is the clinical proof.

But I have been giving Wee One a bath with this magic stuff since she was about 9 weeks old. Every night she gets a bath with the stuff. Most nights she gets a massage with the other stuff. Then she gets put to sleep the random way we do it, which is nursing. So this study didn't help me much.

Another study that isn't free on the web (and probably wasn't sponsored by J&J either) studied "behavioral interventions" and found:
The findings indicate that behavioral therapies produce reliable and durable changes. Across all studies, 94% report that behavioral interventions were efficacious, with over 80% of children treated demonstrating clinically significant improvement that was maintained for 3 to 6 months.

The study
provides strong support for unmodified extinction and preventive parent education. In addition, support is provided for graduated extinction, bedtime fading/positive routines, and scheduled awakenings.

Hmmm. I wish I knew what all that stuff meant that works so good to make your baby sleep. Wish I had access to the full-length journal. Guess I'm field tripping to the university library this weekend.

All in my quest for a full night's sleep.

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