The impact of sleep training on the mother-child relationship

Mancz, Gilly and Wigley, Wendy ORCID: (2018) The impact of sleep training on the mother-child relationship. In: 38th Annual Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology Conference at University of Lodz, 11 - 12 September 2018, Lodz, Poland.

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Sleep disturbance is common in the under-5s. Behavioural interventions, such as extinction, controlled crying and gradual retreat are suggested strategies for tackling poor infant sleep. There has been suggestion that interventions such as this have implications on the neurological development of the child and the mother-child relationship.

Aims and Objectives:

Explore the literature relating to infant sleep interventions.

Identify both positive and negative impacts on the mother-child relationship when using sleep training.


A PIO tool was used to identify the research question and from this a range of key words and synonyms were determined. A thorough search of the databases - CINAHL, Psyc-Info and Medline - was undertaken. To ensure all relevant literature was considered further searches of the internet, grey literature and a hand search of relevant journals was also completed. A three-stage inclusion and exclusion strategy was used to reduce the initial number of articles identified. Specific criteria was imposed to ensure relevance and currency of findings.


A number of pertinent studies were identified and subsequently critiqued using Bluff and Cleutt’s (2006) framework. This in-depth analysis allowed the key themes to be established.


The three main types of sleep training used are extinction, controlled crying and gradual retreat. The literature highlighted a number of themes relating to the consequences of these practices on the mother child relationship. These ranged from the potential of increased infant stress, to reduction in postnatal depression and improved infant sleep and therefore increased family functioning.


Contention exists between sleep training and the potential impact on infant mental health. Further research needs to be undertaken to specifically examine the mother child relationship pre and post delivering a sleep intervention to ascertain whether these types of techniques have a positive or negative impact on the synchronicity of the relationship.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Medicine and health > Nursing > Child nursing
Medicine and health > Health promotion and public health
Medicine and health > Mental health
Medicine and health > Nursing > Nursing practice
Medicine and health > Child health
Medicine and health
Medicine and health > Midwifery
Medicine and health > Nursing
Medicine and health > Primary health
Social sciences
Social sciences > Social work
Depositing User: Wendy Wigley
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 12:13
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:26


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