Why do some babies
sleep through the night as early as two months of age, when others can
take up to as long as 12 months? In the study, “Sleeping Through the Night: The Consolidation of Self-Regulated Sleep Across the First Year of Life,” published in the November issue of Pediatrics
(published online Oct. 25), parents of 75 normally developing infants
completed sleep diaries for six days each month for 12 months. The
accuracy of these reports was verified by a time-lapse video recorder.
The fastest consolidation in infant sleep regulation occurred in the
first 4 months of life. During this time, infants were most likely to
meet three different criteria for sleeping through the night (midnight to 5.00 a.m., 8 hours, or 10:00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.), and
to have a mean longest self-regulated sleep period that exceeded
Most infants were sleeping through the night at 2 and 3
months of age, regardless of the criterion used. Prevention efforts
should be focused in the first 3 months, beginning as early as 1 month
for intervention to be in sync with the onset of sleeping through the
night. Additional efforts are needed to determine the factors that
precede and predict infant sleep issues.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.