Babies who sleep in separate rooms from their parents have earlier bedtimes, take less time to nod off and get more shut eye, new research reveals.
They are also less likely to require feeding at night, a study found.
Parents of such babies find bedtime less difficult and report sleeping better themselves, the research adds.
Lead author Dr Jodi Mindell from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said: ‘One main reason is that they are more likely to self-soothe to sleep.’
This contradicts guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which recommends babies sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months to reduce their risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
How the study was carried out
The researchers analyzed questionnaires completed by the parents of 6,236 infants aged between six and 12 months in the US.
They also assessed surveys by 3,798 parents from Australia, Brazil, Canada, the UK and New Zealand.
Sleeping in separate rooms boosts babies’ shut eye
Results reveal babies who sleep in separate rooms from their parents have earlier bedtimes, take less time to nod off, and get more sleep over 24 hours and at night.
They are also less likely to require night-time feeding.
Parents whose youngsters sleep in separate rooms to themselves find bedtime less difficult and also slumber better.
The findings were published in the journal Sleep Medicine
Sleeping alone helps babies ‘self-soothe’
Dr Mindell said: ‘There are a number of possible reasons that babies sleep better in their own room.
‘One main reason is that they are more likely to self-soothe to sleep.’
The study’s findings contradict the advice of the AAP, which recommends newborns sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Dr Mindell said: ‘Pediatric providers have been struggling with what to tell parents since the release of the AAP recommendations.
‘Once a baby is past the risk of SIDS, by 6 months of age, parents need to decide what works best for them and their family, which enables everyone in the family to get the sleep they need.’
Yet, Dr Lori Feldman-Winter, a coauthor of the AAP guidelines, who was not involved in the study, added: ‘If the only goal is to increase sleep, then the results may be compelling.
‘However, since we don’t know what causes SIDS and evidence supports room sharing as a method to decrease SIDS, giving up some sleep time may be worth it.’