Effects of sleeping position and time after feeding on the organization of sleep/wake states in prematurely born infants

Sleep. 1998 Jun 15;21(4):343-9.


Epidemiologic studies provide strong evidence for the conclusion that sleeping in the prone position places infants at greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Prior studies in newborn infants found that in the prone sleeping position there is less time awake and more quiet sleep, but little change in the amount of active sleep. To determine whether the effects of sleeping position on state distribution vary with time after feeding, we studied prematurely born infants in both the prone and supine sleeping positions. Sleep states were recorded each minute during interfeed intervals. Results demonstrate expected effects of sleep position on state distribution: prone sleeping is associated with a 79% increase in quiet sleep and a 71% decrease in time awake. While the decreases in time awake are seen throughout the interfeed interval, increases in quiet sleep in the prone position are found only within the first hour and again near the end of the interfeed interval. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that prone sleeping could increase risk for SIDS by altering the organization of sleep, and that time after feeding may play an important role in the expression of these effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Crying / physiology
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Prone Position*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sudden Infant Death / prevention & control
  • Supine Position*
  • Time Factors
  • Wakefulness / physiology*