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June 9, 2008, at 12:01 a.m.
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WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Parental adaptation to infant sleep was poorer when infants spent any part of the night with their parents, even when parents endorsed bedsharing, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).
The study, authored by Molly Countermine, of Penn State University, focused on 45 families with infants between one and 24 months. Parents completed measures of parental cognitions about infant sleep and attitudes and practices regarding sleep arrangements. A measure of adaptation to infant sleep was derived from five items that inquired about parents’ satisfaction with infants’ sleep location, and bedtime and nighttime behavior.
The results showed that the adaptation scores of both fathers and mothers were highly correlated. Parents whose infants spent any time with them at night had poorer adaptation scores that did parents who slept separately from their infants. Parents with more lenient attitudes toward bedsharing spent more time with their infants at night than did parents with less lenient attitudes. Interestingly, however, more lenient attitudes toward bedsharing were associated with poorer adaptation in both mothers and fathers.
“In a culture that is typically not accustomed to co-sleeping, parents who choose to co-sleep for their child’s well-being may be doing so at their own expense,” said Countermine.
It is recommended that adults get seven to eight hours of nightly sleep, infants 14-15 hours and toddlers 12-14 hours.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
- Get a full night’s sleep every night.
- Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
- Do not bring your worries to bed with you.
- Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
- Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
Those who suspect that they might be suffering from a sleep disorder are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.
The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.
More than 1,150 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society. The three-and-a-half-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.
SleepEducation.com, a patient education Web site created by the AASM, provides information about various sleep disorders, the forms of treatment available, recent news on the topic of sleep, sleep studies that have been conducted and a listing of sleep facilities.
Abstract Title: Parental Adaptation and Sleep Arrangements in Infancy
Presentation Date: Monday, June 9
Abstract ID: 0266