Sleep training improves infant sleep problems

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Sleep training improves infant sleep problems

A recent Alberta Tools for Practice1 notes that sleep training improves infant sleep problems, with about 1 in 4 to 1 in 10 benefitting over no sleep training, with no adverse effects reported after five years.

Maternal mood scales also significantly improve, with those having worse baseline depression scores benefitting most.

Sleep training, or "controlled crying," is where parents respond to their infant's cry at increasing time intervals to allow independent settling.  Sleep training is simple and can be introduced at six months. Examples include leaving the room and not returning for 2-5 minutes before responding to crying, then lengthening that interval. 

Complete extinction (allowing baby to "cry it out") has been demonstrated to be similarly effective, although parents tend to find this method more stressful.


  1. Alberta Tools for Practice #196. Click here 

      Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

      As published in NZ Doctor 8/11/2017