Sleep Consolidation, Sleep Problems, and Co-Sleeping: Rethinking Normal Infant Sleep as Species-Typical

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Infants evolved in the context of close contact (including co-sleeping). Evolutionary context is rarely considered in psychological infant sleep research, and Western sleep researchers make assumptions about what optimal “normal” infant sleep is and how to achieve early, deep, infant sleep consolidation and avoid infant sleep problems. However, an evolutionary and anthropological view of infant sleep as species-typical recognizes that human evolution likely prepared the infant brain for optimal development within its evolutionary context–co-sleeping. Thus, “normal” infant sleep, sleep consolidation, and sleep problems should all be understood within the framework of co-sleeping infants, not the historically new-phenomenon of solitary-sleeping infants. Much work needs to be done in order to understand “normal” infant sleep as species-typical and how adaptive infants are to environments that stray from their evolutionary norm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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