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Sleep Med. 2012 Sep;13(8):991-8. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2012.04.014. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

Outcomes at six years of age for children with infant sleep problems: longitudinal community-based study.

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Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia.



To examine whether infant sleep problems predict (1) sleep problems and (2) poorer outcomes at the age of six years.


We studied a community-based cohort of 326 six-year-olds recruited to a randomized trial of a behavioral sleep intervention for sleep problems at age seven months. Predictors were parent-reported child sleep problems at ages 4, 12, and 24 months ("yes" vs. "no"). There were a number of parent reported six-year-old outcomes: (1) Child sleep problem ("moderate/large" vs. "none/small") and Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ); (2) child and maternal mental and global health, child health-related quality of life (HRQoL, also child-reported), and child-parent relationship. The analyses were composed of multivariable models, adjusting for potential confounders and six-year sleep problems, examining whether each outcome was predicted by each infant sleep problem entered simultaneously. In a second set of analyses the predictor was the count of the number of waves with a sleep problem.


A total of 225 (69%) families participated at six years. The CSHQ Total increased 0.5 points (95% CI: 0.4 to 2.4, p=0.006) with each additional infant sleep problem, but there was little evidence that sleep problems at one or more time points during early childhood predicted other child, maternal, or child-parent outcomes at six years.


Infant sleep problems, whether transient, recurring, or persistent, do not predict long-term outcomes. Clinicians should focus on reducing child sleep problems and their considerable short-to-medium term impacts as they arise during childhood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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