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Internet program reduces infant and toddler sleep problems, helps moms sleep better too
Date:3/31/2011

DARIEN, Ill. A study in the April 1 issue of the journal SLEEP demonstrates that an Internet-based intervention was effective at reducing infant and toddler sleep disturbances, as well as providing positive, indirect benefits for maternal sleep, mood and confidence. The study suggests that the Internet can give parents widespread access to individualized, behaviorally based advice for sleep problems in young children.

Results show that there were significant improvements in the sleep of infants and toddlers in the Internet-based intervention groups. The number and duration of night wakings decreased by about 50 percent or more, and the longest period of continuous sleep increased by more than two hours. Children also took less time to fall asleep and had a longer total sleep time at night. Mothers in the intervention groups also slept better and had less tension, depression, fatigue and confusion. In the control group there were only minimal improvements in sleep measures and ratings of maternal mood.

"We have always known that making simple changes can help young children sleep dramatically better at night, but we were surprised by how quickly these changes came about," said principal investigator and lead author Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, professor of psychology at Saint Joseph's University and associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pa. "Within just one week, the children, and their mothers, were sleeping much better, and they continued to improve over the second week."

This three-week study involved 264 mothers and their infant or toddler (ages 6 to 36 months). Families were randomly assigned to one of two Internet-based intervention groups or a control group. After a one-week baseline period during which mothers followed their usual bedtime practices, the intervention groups followed personalized recommendations during weeks two and three. All mothers completed online versions of the Brief
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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700 x9345
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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