Friday, July 9, 2010

Sleep-Deprived Parents May Find Answers in Infant Study

New parents go to bed knowing its coming and its going to ruin their sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, maybe around 3 or 4 a.m., they’ll waken to the sound of their infant child crying.

Everyone seems to take a different approach to getting their baby to sleep again. Do you leave the child alone, or do you rock the baby to sleep? Do you bring your baby to your bed with you? Right now there’s no clear answer to this parenting peril.

In a few years may change. Canadian researchers are launching a project called the “Rocky Baby Study,” to test these different approaches, the Montreal Gazette reports.

About 250 babies will wear a small wrist actigraph as they sleep to monitor their sleep/wake patterns.

The study coordinators are betting on something called the Australian model of intervention. The program educates parents about infant sleep habits and requirements. They will learn sleep patterns change and babies can sleep on their own for a longer time after six months. The parents will also receive training and tips for bedtime and daytime sleep rituals.

The study is expected to be completed in 2 ½ years. It may take even longer before the results are published.

The months after childbirth are usually the most difficult for parents. Most complaints about sleep disturbance and daytime impairment usually occur within the first six months.

Parents should make sleep a top priority, for the sake of their health and their family. Recent findings suggest first-time parents who are able to sleep are more satisfied with their partners.

The AASM reports there are several things new parents can do to improve their sleep.

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