• Sleeping problems are commonly reported in infancy.
  • Infants’ sleep quality is highly variable during the first two years of life.
  • The changes in sleep quality during development are extensive.
  • Infants with deviant sleep quality might benefit from sleep interventions.
  • Distribution percentiles could be used as age-specific reference values.

This is a recent (2020) study. The researchers looked at a large group (approximately 3600) of Finnish children. The study looked at the variability of sleep between infancy and 2 years of age. 

The study also looked at the variability of sleep quality. It concluded that there is a need for intervention for those children whose sleep problems are impacting upon this quality of sleep.

We know that the quality of sleep will also impact other parts of the Childs development, behavior, and ability to learn new things. However, we also know that a child’s poor sleep will impact the parents’ sleep quality as well.

“Now we know that the individual differences are very large and that patterns relating to falling asleep, waking up, staying awake at night and sleeping rhythms often develop at different rates.” Paavonen.

“Those children whose quality of sleep is clearly different from the average would probably benefit from situation assessment at, for example, the child welfare clinic. There are many tools available for reducing children’s sleep problems,” Paavonen says.

This study demonstrated that while most children do have sleep disturbances they generally grow through these changes with a little support.

For children who continue to have problems with sleep – getting help from a trained professional is appropriate as it will benefit both the child and the families well being.


If you would like help with your child’s sleep concerns, please contact us. Thriving Families has helped thousands of families with sleep. We use gentle, well-researched methods that are proven to work. We use an attachment model therefore do not use “cry-it-out” methods. admin@thrivingfamilies.net.au

We offer an in-home sleep consultation service, where a child health nurse (a sleep consultant specialist) will come out and work with your family to find the best-individualized method for you. This is then followed up with phone, text, or email support for the following two weeks for free.

The benefit of having a child health nurse who is a specialist in sleep, is that they will use the latest evidence to guide their practice. However, they also look at the child and family as a whole. This includes working with the family around the child’s development needs, their nutritional intake, safety, and other family stressors.

Journal Reference:

  1. E. Juulia Paavonen, Outi Saarenpää-Heikkilä, Isabel Morales-Munoz, Minna Virta, Niina Häkälä, Pirjo Pölkki, Anneli Kylliäinen, Hasse Karlsson, Tiina Paunio, Linnea Karlsson. Normal sleep development in infants: findings from two large birth cohortsSleep Medicine, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2020.01.009