Evaluating night wakings in sleep-disturbed infants: a methodological study of parental reports and actigraphy

Sleep. 1996 Dec;19(10):757-62. doi: 10.1093/sleep/19.10.757.


The aim of this study was to investigate the use of objective and subjective sleep measures in diagnostic assessment of night-waking problems during infancy. Infant sleep-wake measures obtained from parental daily logs were compared with objective sleep measures derived from activity monitoring during a week-long period in 66 referred infants. Reported sleep measures were significantly correlated with objective sleep measures and showed a significant level of day-to-day stability. Parents were accurate reporters of sleep-schedule measures (e.g. sleep onset, r = 0.88; sleep duration, r = 0.74; p < 0.0001). However, parents were less accurate in assessing sleep quality measures, significantly overestimating the time that their infants spent in actual sleep and underestimating the number of their night-wakings (r = 0.41 and r = 0.60, respectively; P < 0.001). It is suggested that subjective and objective measures should play a complementary role in the clinical assessment of night-waking problems in early childhood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somnambulism*