Night waking in 1-year-old children in England

Child Care Health Dev. 1990 Sep-Oct;16(5):283-302. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.1990.tb00662.x.


A national sample of 1500 mothers of 1-year-old children received a postal questionnaire concerned with the sleeping patterns of their children. The response rate was 69%. Seventeen per cent of mothers reported that their 1-year-old presented a moderate or severe sleep problem and 26% said their child woke at night on at least five nights a week. While these two measures correlated, 10% of those who reported their infant woke on at least five nights a week did not consider this to be a problem. Neither sex of infant, social class, method of infant feeding or numbers of house moves were associated with sleep problems. The pattern of results strongly suggest an association between night waking and other sleeping difficulties and stress for mothers. This was indicated by the association we found with complaints about housing, overcrowding, more negative attitudes toward motherhood, lower assessments of maternal well-being, lack of practical support from partners, the use of more negative adjectives to describe their baby and more frequent feelings of being dominated by their baby. While these associations may be explained by the stresses of living with a night-waking baby, it is also likely that a mother who is feeling somewhat depressed and negative toward her baby is more likely to see night waking as significant and as a problem. There were class differences in how parents coped with a shortage of space. Middle-class parents were more likely to put a baby in with a sibling while working class parents more often had the baby in their own room. Middle-class parents were more likely to leave a night-waking baby to cry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / etiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors