Babies may sleep longer in their own rooms

Credit: Cover Media

Credit: Cover Media

Older babies may sleep more when they are put in their own rooms, new research claims.

To better understand the association between room-sharing and sleep, academics led by paediatrician Dr. Ian Paul, analysed surveys from 279 mothers who delivered at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

They found that at four months, children who already slept independently in their own room averaged 45 minutes longer stretches of continuous sleep than those who shared a room with a parent.

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At nine months the gap widened and those who learned to sleep independently by four months had sleep stretches that averaged one hour and 40 minutes longer than babies who were still sleeping in their parent’s room.

Total sleep over the night was also greater for the babies who were in their own room and the early decisions by parents had lasting effects.

At 30 months, babies who had room-shared at nine months slept, on average, 45 minutes less per night than those who were independent sleepers at four and nine months.

The findings counter guidance from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which recommends parents keep babies in the same room with them to sleep for the first year to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

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While Dr. Paul and his colleagues state that there is evidence to recommend room-sharing with infants for three to six months, their findings don’t support the practice beyond that age.

“Our findings showing poorer sleep-related outcomes and more unsafe sleep practices for babies who room-share beyond early infancy suggest that the American Academy of Pediatrics should reconsider and revise the recommendation pending evidence to support it,” he stated.

Dr. Paul also explained that some experts also believe that moving an infant out of the parents’ bedroom sooner could help babies sleep better before they develop separation anxiety.

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