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Institution of a bedtime routine improves sleep in infants and toddlers, maternal mood
Date:4/30/2009

Westchester, Ill. A study in the May 1 issue of the journal SLEEP demonstrates that the use of a consistent bedtime routine contributes to improvements in multiple aspects of infant and toddler sleep, bedtime behavior and maternal mood.

Results indicate that the establishment of a nightly bedtime routine produced significant reductions in problematic sleep behaviors for infants and toddlers. Improvements were seen in latency and sleep onset and in the number and duration of night wakings. Toddlers were less likely to call out to their parents or get out of their crib/bed during the night. Sleep continuity increased and there was a significant decrease in the number of mothers who rated their child's sleep as problematic. Maternal mood also significantly improved.

According to the study, sleep problems are one of the most common concerns of parents of young children; approximately 20 to 30 percent of infants and toddlers experience sleep difficulties. Previous studies have found that successful treatment of children's sleep problems with behavioral interventions also result in improvements in parental well-being.

According to principal investigator, Jodi Mindell, PhD, professor of psychology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA., creating a bedtime routine is an easy change that can significantly improve both the child's sleep and the mother's quality of life.

"There is no question that maternal mood and children's sleep impact one another. The better a child sleeps and the easier bedtime is, the better a mother's mood is going to be," said Mindell. "In addition, a mom who is not feeling tense, depressed, and fatigued is going to be calmer at bedtime, which will help a child settle down to sleep."

Data were collected from 405 mothers and their infant or toddler,(206 infants between the ages of 7 and 18 months and 199 toddlers between the ages of 18 and 36 months), who then participated
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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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