Gilly Mancz, Wendy Wigley
Journal of Health Visiting, Vol. 5, Iss. 1, 18 Jan 2017, pp 16 - 24

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.

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