Infant-parent co-sleeping in an evolutionary perspective: Implications for understanding infant sleep development and the sudden infant death syndrome

J. J. McKenna, E. B. Thoman, T. F. Anders, A. Sadeh, V. L. Schechtman, S. F. Glotzbach

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Evidence suggests that infant-parent co-sleeping represents the species- wide pattern of sleep in which human infant physiology evolved. The hypothesis evaluated in this manuscript is that the co-sleeping environment may foster development of optimal sleep patterning in infants and confer other benefits, including reducing the risk of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). These postulations by McKenna are considered from different perspectives by the coauthors. Using evolutionary, cross-species, crosscultural, physiological and behavioral data, our objective was to present a conceptual framework for assessing the developmental consequences of solitary sleeping and infant-parent co-sleeping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-282
Number of pages20
JournalSleep
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Co-sleeping
  • Evolution
  • Pediatric sleep problems
  • SIDS-Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

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