Parental sleep‐related practices and sleep in children aged 1–3 years: a systematic review: Parental practices and sleep review

Georgia Cook, Bernie Carter, Luci Wiggs, Shannon Southam

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SummaryThe current systematic review sought to identify the relationship between the range of different parental sleep‐related practices that had been explored in relations to child sleep outcomes in children aged 1–3 years. A systematic literature review was carried out in CINAHL, The Cochrane Library, PsycArticles, PsycInfo, PubMed and Web of Science, as well as relevant grey literature in August 2022 using the terms; population (children, aged 1–3 years), exposure (parental sleep‐related practice) and outcome (child sleep). Any quantitative study published between 2010 and 2022 that explored the relationship between parental sleep‐related practices and the sleep of children aged 1–3 years were included. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool was employed to quality appraise included studies and results were narratively synthesised. In all, 16 longitudinal and cross‐sectional quantitative studies met inclusion criteria. Parental presence or physical involvement, as well as broader parental practices including using screens or devices at bedtime and night‐time breastfeeding were all related to poorer child sleep outcomes. Consistent and relaxing routines, sleeping in a cot, and spending all night in their own sleep location were associated with better child sleep outcomes. Acknowledging the plethora of diverse parental sleep‐related practices, which may have varying relationships with child sleep outcomes, could be usefully considered in theoretical models and to inform clinical practice. Issues of definitional and measurement ambiguity are highlighted and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14120
Pages (from-to)1-49
Number of pages49
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Early online date22 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2023


  • child sleep
  • parenting
  • review
  • parental behaviours

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute


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