Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Research on sleep disturbances and CIO

I've been asked to provide a few research links on sleeping problems in elementary aged children. That's only fair and I'm happy to oblige.

Here are a few links that give some sobering details on the problems of sleep with children. The first link also gives a lot of suggestions on overcoming sleep issues. It mentions that 10% of children from kindergarten through fourth grade are so greatly sleep deprived that they fall asleep in school.

The second link is a summary on a research paper entitled "Sleep Habits and Sleep Disturbance in Elementary School-Aged Children." You can order the entire publication online, but the link below summarizes the findings into one comact paragraph. Basically they identified 15% of children with bedtime resistance and 37% of children having significant sleep problems in at least one sleep domain.

For information on techniques on CIO, you can research "Ferber Method" or "modified Ferber method." Ferber is a pediatrician and the Director of the the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital in Boston. He knows a thing or two about sleep problems. A lot of people will refer to CIO as "Ferber method" or "Ferberizing." I don't know if that just makes them feel better or what. I call it what it is. He gives you tips for when you go back in to comfort them and how to increase the amount of time you let them cry. We found that with Reagan it actually makes things worse to go in and comfort her after a period so we just have to let her ride it out.

I should mention that Ferber does condone starting at around 4-6 months. I personally think that is way too early. At that age they still need food and they still need comforting. They are still developing a bond and trust with you. They need to know that if they cry you will be there to respond and it is impossible to spoil a baby at that age. They don't cry because they are trying to manipulate you, they cry because they need something.

If you still need reasons to believe that a lack of sleep can be a problem, read on. Sleep deprived children are sick more often, more likely to be overweight, don't grow as tall, have more trouble learning and remembering, and are more likely to injure themselves from a lack of coordination and increased clumsiness.

Whew! I think I need a nap now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought I had a sleep disorder, I kept waking up during the night, at first I thought it was down to my mattress but when I bought a new one and it didn't change I started to worry. Fortunately I found out that it was down to the amount of cheese I was eating at night, it was playing havoc with my bowels.