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

in two age-specific three week studies. Families were randomly assigned to a routine or control group. The first week of the study served as a baseline, during which the mothers followed their child's usual bedtime weeks. During the following two weeks mothers were instructed to conduct a specific bedtime routine, while the control group continued with their child's normal bedtime procedure.

All children included in the study had a small to severe sleep problem, as identified by the mother. Problems included more than three nightly wakings, awakening for longer than 60 minutes per night, or having a total daily sleep duration of less than nine hours. All mothers completed an expanded version of the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BRISQ), and provided subjective data concerning their child's sleep habits.

Parents in the infant routine group were given a three-step bedtime procedure to follow that included a bath, a massage and quiet activities (such as cuddling and singing); lights were to be turned out within 30 minutes of the end of the bath. Mothers then proceeded to put the child to sleep as they normally did, by either putting the child to bed while awake or rocking them to sleep. Thus, the only instituted change was the routine. The toddler group followed the same routine, except that mothers were instructed to apply lotion rather than give the child a massage.

Research shows that daily routines in general lead to predictable and less stressful environments for young children and are related to parenting competence, improved daytime behaviors and lower maternal mental distress.

Authors of the study were surprised by the fact that sleep during the night improved, with a decrease in the number and duration of wakings and improved sleep consolidation. Sleep may have improved because the use of a routine may have decreased arousal level, resulting in improved sleep throughout the night. Inclusion of the bath may also have
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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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