December 14, 2006

Studies: Do Something, Anything, To Get Kid To Sleep

Seeing as how it's based on a review in the October issue of SLEEP, the journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, I'd say the Times was asleep at the wheel with this story about which behavior techniques get infants to sleep the best. But then, it's not like Daddy Types was breaking the news months ago, either, so pot, kettle.

Anyway, the big news: ANYTHING you do will help a kid learn to go to sleep on his own, Ferber, schedules, cry it out, anything. SLEEP reviewed 52 recent studies of infant sleep techniques and found that as long as they were applied consistently, 80% of kids showed significant behavioral improvement: i.e., they went to sleep better.

There was a gap on the snuggly end of the spectrum, though; the review didn't consider co-sleeping at all. [The Times throws up a bunch of unrelated-sounding reasons why, none of which will placate co-sleeping fans.]

The most effective technique by far, though, comes from the hardcore side. The only sleep technique that got "strong support" from 23 studies was "unmodified extinction," i.e., closing the door and walking away. Good luck selling a book about that one.

Still, "unmodified extinction"? That sounds kind of cool. For the record, Ferber's technique is actually called "graduated extinction." The other cool jargon to start throwing around: "bedtime fading/positive routines."

For Getting Baby To Sleep, Sticking To Plan Is What Counts
Behavioral Treatment of Bedtime Problems and Night Wakings in Infants and Young Children []
Previously: British accent makes sleep study findings sound more authoritative
Ferber-Sears convergence??
We're co-sleeping, we're proud. Get used to it.

1 Comment

we were amused that the so-called "sleep nazi" (ugh), ferber, was quoted sounding quite tolerant of co-sleeping, while the so-called hippie, sears, basically made it sound like using any method but his would mess up a child for life (all of dr mindell's roundup of evidence to the contrary).

it's called tolerance for difference, dude; look into it!

[yeah, I added the link to the story of Ferber caving and Sears ratcheting down -ed.]

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