Research findings: In order to assess the relations between sleep problems and temperament in infants, temperament ratings of 63 toddlers who presented with night waking problems were compared to those of 35 non-referred toddlers. An objective method to assess sleep patterns was used to validate the distinct sleep patterns of the two groups prior to the comparison of the temperament scales. Measures included: Toddler Temperament Questionnaire (TTQ) and the child's scales of the Parental Stress Index (PSI). On the TTQ, Night wakers were rated as having lower sensory thresholds compared to the controls. Night Wakers were also rated as less adaptive than the controls. On the PSI, Night Wakers were rated as more distractible; less reinforcing; less adaptive and more demanding. Practice or policy: The results suggest that sleep disturbances in early childhood are closely associated with negative maternal perceptions of child temperament. It is proposed that early detection and treatment of sleep problems during early childhood may prevent some of the associated negative behavioral consequences.
- sleep problems