Sleep tight

accreditation
Following a consistent bedtime routine improves infants' and toddlers' sleep patterns as well as their bedtime behaviors, study findings show.

Carrying out a regular bedtime routine also benefited mothers' moods, report Dr. Jodi A. Mindell, at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and colleagues.

Compared with mothers who did not institute a regular bedtime routine with their infants and toddlers, those who did so for 2 weeks "felt less fatigued, less tense, and less depressed," Mindell told Reuters Health.

She and colleagues enlisted 405 mothers - 206 with infants 7 to 18 months old and 199 with toddlers 18 to 36 months old - to participate in a 3-week intervention to assess how a nighttime bedtime routine altered children's mild to moderate sleep problems and difficult bedtime behaviors.

The mothers, who ranged from 18 to 49 years old, completed daily sleep diaries for one week to establish how long their children took to fall asleep, how often they awoke at night, and their general bedtime behaviors and sleep patterns.

For the next 2 weeks, 134 mothers and their infants and 133 mothers and their toddlers followed specific 30-minute bedtime routines that included a bath, a massage or applying skin lotion, and cuddling or another restful activity.

The remaining mother/child pairs - the "control" group - maintained existing bedtime habits, while all participants kept to pre-established bedtimes and "light out" times, the researchers report in the journal Sleep.

The mothers' sleep diaries over the subsequent 2-weeks showed infants and toddlers fell asleep faster, awoke less often and for shorter periods during the night, and slept more regularly after following the bedtime routine, plus toddlers had improved morning moods.

By contrast, sleep patterns and bedtime behaviors for the control groups did not significantly change.

Moreover, mother's who instituted and followed the specific bedtime routines had improved mood profiles while control group mothers did not.

Mindell's team calls for continued investigations to determine whether a specific aspect of the bedtime routine is more effective, or if the routine itself calms children's sleep problems.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4211 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5084 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.93
-1.8%
Rand - Pound
19.45
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.37
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.70
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,643.66
0.0%
Silver
18.87
0.0%
Palladium
2,073.00
0.0%
Platinum
858.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
86.15
-5.0%
Top 40
57,110
-3.1%
All Share
63,417
-2.9%
Resource 10
56,319
-7.5%
Industrial 25
78,436
-1.2%
Financial 15
14,142
-1.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE