A sleep expert assesses the improvements an internet-based intervention can have on infant, toddler, and maternal sleep.
Sleep problems occur in 20 to 30% of young children. And while behaviorally-based interventions are highly effective, most existing interventions require personal contact with a trained professional. However, the use of an Internet-based intervention provided widespread access to a sample.
This three-week study examined the effect of an Internet-based intervention, the Customized Sleep Profile (CSP), for infant and toddler sleep disturbances, and indirect benefits to maternal sleep, mood, and confidence.
264 mothers and their child (6-36 months; mean = 19.4 months, 50.2% males) participated in a three week study. Mothers completed a weekly questionnaire including a Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BISQ), a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and Profile of Moods Scale (POMS).
This intervention resulted in significant improvements in both intervention groups for number/duration of night wakings, latency to sleep onset, and maternal ratings of sleep problems. Significant improvements were seen in mother’s confidence in managing their child’s sleep following the intervention. There was an increase in mothers identifying as good sleepers instead of poor sleepers.
The results suggest that educating parents about sleep and providing customized recommendations can help improve multiple aspects of infants’ and toddlers’ sleep. Overall, there were significant improvements by the end of the first week of the intervention, with additional improvements by the end of the second week.
Mindell JA, Du Mond CE, Sadeh A, et al. Efficacy of an internet-based intervention for infant and toddler sleep disturbances. Sleep. 2011;34(4):451-8.