Letting a baby cry can lead to better night sleep: Research

For the new parents, it is a difficult task to make their baby asleep and even many parents have to sacrifice their own sleep to ease their baby. Whenever a child cries in the night, the mother or father rushes to carry the baby and feed them and make him asleep. However, a research shows that letting a baby cry can lead to a better night sleep for parents as well as baby.

The co-author of the research and Ph.D. associate professor in the School of Psychology at Flinders University, Australia, Michael Gradisar and his colleagues have published their findings in the journal Pediatrics.

The conclusion of the study may be an overwhelming one for the parents, however, many would not let their child cry.

Micheal Gradisar said, “It’s natural for parents to worry about having their babies cry at bedtime. While it’s well documented that sleep deprivation can cause family distress, including maternal depression, we’re hoping these results will add another element to how parents view their responses and how they manage their own and their babies’ sleep behavior.”

The researchers carried out a randomized, controlled trial which is known as “Ferber method,” this method involved the ignoring of a child’s cry and checking on them only at specific time with gradually increasing intervals. The idea is to train the child to learn that no one will be there to help the aiding when they cry. It will gradually decrease the cry span and help in improving sleep.

The parents of 14 infants used the “gentler” technique called “bedtime fading” for at least 12 months. It involved the gradually delaying of a child’s bedtime every night.

On analysis of the levels of cortisol; the “stress hormone”, from saliva samples of infants, the researchers found that there were no influential differences in the stress levels between both groups.

Gradisar and colleagues informed, “Their findings say that graduated extinction and bedtime fading may be beneficial for infants and their parents.”

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