Sleep interventions for infants under 2 years old: a PRISMA- informed scoping review

Gentle, L., Linney, C. and Rose, J. (2024) Sleep interventions for infants under 2 years old: a PRISMA- informed scoping review. Norland Educare Research Journal, 2 (1): 7. pp. 1-32. ISSN 2976-7199


This PRISMA scoping review identifies and summarises 13 research papers, published between 2011 and 2021, specific to interventions aimed at improving the sleep of infants from birth to two years of age. The aim was to identify trends in study characteristics, overarching outcomes and recommendations, and to extract and make further suggestions for professional training and practice. Relevant literature often provides contradictory guidance, and caregivers increasingly seek individualised support via the growing sleep consultancy industry. Papers examining the efficacy, safety and parental perception of a variety of approaches to improving infant sleep – including cry it out, controlled crying, camping out, bedtime fading and educational interventions – were sourced. Findings suggested that authors most commonly recommended supporting caregivers with education about developmentally appropriate sleep, cues for tiredness, settling techniques, positive sleep routines, how to increase homeostatic sleep pressure and how to use moderate behavioural interventions if problems remain after the infant reaches six months of age. Outcomes also suggested this combination is safe, can improve infant sleep as well as main and secondary caregiver wellbeing, and helps caregivers improve their understanding of whether their infant has a sleep problem. Based on the scoping review outcomes, the authors recommend the routine inclusion of evidence-based information about common patterns of infant sleep and different approaches to supporting sleep in the professional training of early years and healthcare professionals. This has the potential to facilitate evidence-based individualised support for caregivers with their infant’s sleep, promote safe selection and use of interventions, and improve infant, primary and secondary caregiver sleep quality and wellbeing.

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