Research Article  |   May 2015
Sensory Processing and Sleep in Typically Developing Infants and Toddlers
Author Affiliations
  • Mark Vasak, MOT, is Occupational Therapy Graduate, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • James Williamson, MOT, is Occupational Therapy Graduate, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Jennifer Garden, MSc, OT, is Founder, Sleepdreams Professional Sleep Consultants, Inc., and Instructor and Fieldwork Manager, Capilano University, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Jill G. Zwicker, PhD, OT(C), is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia; Associate Member, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Pediatrics, University of British Columbia; Scientist Level 1, Child & Family Research Institute; and Clinician Scientist, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; jill.zwicker@ubc.ca
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Sensory Integration and Processing / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   May 2015
Sensory Processing and Sleep in Typically Developing Infants and Toddlers
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 2015, Vol. 69, 6904220040p1-6904220040p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.015891
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 2015, Vol. 69, 6904220040p1-6904220040p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.015891
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To explore the relationship between sensory processing patterns and sleep problems in typically developing infants and toddlers.

METHOD. A retrospective chart review of 177 infants and toddlers from a community occupational therapy sleep clinic included descriptive and correlational analyses of data from the Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile and Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire.

RESULTS. More than half of participants (55%) demonstrated a pattern of increased sensory processing in one or more quadrants, with sensitivity being most common (36%). We found small but significant correlations between increased seeking and shorter daytime sleep duration (r = −.24, p = .002) and between increased sensitivity and longer time to settle to sleep (r = .27, p < .001).

CONCLUSION. This study adds to recent literature linking sensory processing patterns to sleep problems and is the first to demonstrate this relationship in young, typically developing children. Results support the role of occupational therapy in addressing sleep difficulties in children.