Mark Vasak, James Williamson, Jennifer Garden, Jill G. Zwicker; Sensory Processing and Sleep in Typically Developing Infants and Toddlers. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(4):6904220040. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.015891
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
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.
Consider sensory processing as a potential factor influencing sleep issues in typically developing infants and toddlers,
Assess for increased sensitivity and seeking patterns in relation to sleep disturbances in typically developing infants and toddlers,
Facilitate environmental modifications informed by the sensory needs of children to address sleep disturbance,
Use their unique expertise and strong therapeutic relationships with families to become an important member of the team in dealing with sleep problems in children, and
Take on a leadership role in research examining the relationship of sensory processing and sleep.
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