If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Advice to parents on helping their children sleep better through the night is presented in ‘What a Parent Can Do’. Do these suggestions work?
These suggestions to help your child sleep better have been successfully used by many parents and carefully evaluated in academic studies. Also:
So, among parents motivated to purchase either book and to rate or review these books to help their child sleep better, it appears that about 80% of these parents are successful in helping their child sleep better based on the books’ ratings and reviews.
2. When parents are motivated and able to hire a community sleep consultant, about 90% rate their experience as ‘complete satisfaction’ (Blog Post 27).
3. A 2021 review of 32 separately published Randomized Clinical Trials of sleep intervention, employing suggestions described in ‘What a parent Can Do’, showed that nighttime sleep duration modestly increased (averaging 14 minutes extra sleep per night) in the intervention group compared to the control group, especially when the study was for sleep-only intervention and less so for interventions that targeted sleep along with other components, such as obesity.
4. A 2022 study of children 8-11 years were randomized with a behavioral intervention and compared to the control group, they had 30 minutes or more sleep per night.
A 2023 paper examined over 2,000 families and infants, aged 3-18 months, and objectively gathered data with a camera monitor over the baby’s crib and questionnaire data about the child and the parent. A Sleep Solution, sometimes called a Behavioral Sleep Intervention (BSI), may include allowing your child to cry (Extinction and Graduated Extinction-Blog Post 25) or not allowing the baby to cry (Fading, also known as ‘Parental Presence’-Blog Post 19). Many published studies have shown that a BSI does not harm your child (Blog Posts 24, 67, 71, and 181). Also, published research has shown that BSIs are effective (Blog Posts 27, 66, and 133). Different parents choose different BSIs (Blog Posts 26 and 132). Here are some of the results:
Duration of BSI:
Parental Presence 18 days
Graduated Extinction 11 days
Extinction 7 days
Less time is required for Extinction.
How long before some improvement is seen:
Parental Presence 13 days
Graduated Extinction & Extinction 5 days
Parental Presence takes longer to see improvement.
Nighttime sleep duration:
Parental Presence 9.5 hours
Graduated Extinction & Extinction 9.9 hours
Less night sleep with Parental Presence
Number of nighttime awakenings
Parental Presence 4
Graduated Extinction & Extinction 3.6
More night awakenings with Parental Presence
Parental Presence was implemented for longer periods of time, took longer to see improvement and was rated as less difficult but also less helpful. Extinction was implemented for shorter durations, and rated as more helpful in improving sleep compared to Graduated Extinction. Extinction entails a lower extent of parental involvement, is experienced as more challenging, yet less time-consuming and more effective. Implementation of these approaches was not negatively associated with parent sleep, daytime sleepiness, depression symptoms, or parent-infant bonding.
Why do attempts at sleep solutions fail in 10-20% of families?
Remember this sleep advice: