Long-term outcomes of techniques used to manage sleep disturbance in the under-5s

Gilly Mancz, Wendy Wigley

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Health visitors identify and support families coping with infant sleep disturbances; however, conflict in the literature may affect professional confidence in managing sleep issues. Sleep disturbance is common in the under-5s and is linked to negative outcomes for the child and their families. Behavioural interventions, such as ‘extinction’, controlled crying and gradual retreat, are the recommended treatments. Contemporary understanding of neuroscience questions the use of such interventions due to their potential impact on attachment and development. This article reviews the literature to ascertain the success of behavioural interventions, the impact on maternal mood and infant mental health, and considers parental perspectives on the controlled crying technique. The key implications and recommendations for health visiting practice are highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


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