The following information is compiled from Attachment Parenting International's article The Benefits of Co-sleeping, and Dr. Sears' article Scientific Benefits of Co-sleeping.
Further information is also available at:
Popular media has tried to discourage parents from sharing sleep with their babies, calling this worldwide practice unsafe. Medical science, however, doesn’t back this conclusion. In fact, research shows that co-sleeping is actually safer than sleeping alone. - Dr. Sears
Research shows that:
1. Co-sleeping promotes physiological regulation
The proximity of the parent to the infant when co-sleeping has been shown to:
Blair, P. S., Fleming, P. J., Smith, I. J., Platt, M. W., Young, J., Nadin, P. & Berry, P. J., (1999). Babies sleeping with parents: case-control study of factors influencing the risk of the sudden infant death syndrome, British Medical Journal, 319(4): 1457-62.
Carpenter et al.(2004). Sudden Unexplained Infant Death in 20 Regions in Europe: Case Control Study. Lancet; 363: 185-191.
Crawford, M., (1994). Parenting practices in the Basque country: Implications of infant and childhood sleeping location for personality development. Ethos, 22(1):42-82.
Davies. (1985) Cot Death In Hong Kong: A Rare Problem? The Lancet 2: 1346-1348.
Drago D. A. & Dannenberg, A. L. (1999). Infant Mechanical Suffocation Deaths in the United States, 1980-1997. Pediatrics 103, no. 5 (1999): e59.
Farooqi, S. (1994). Ethnic differences in infant care practices and in the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome. Early Human Development, 38(3): 215-20.
Forbes, J. F., Weiss, D.S., Folen, R.A. (1992). The co-sleeping habits of military children. Military Medicine, 157(4):196-200.
Fukai, S. & Hiroshi, F. (2000). 1999 Annual Report, Japan SIDS Family Association. Sixth SIDS International Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.
Hauck, F. R., et al. (1998). Bedsharing promotes breastfeeding and AAP Task Force on Infant Positioning and SIDS. Pediatrics, 102(3) Part 1: 662-4.
Hayes, M.J., Roberts, S.M., & Stowe, R. (1996). Early childhood co-sleeping: Parent-child and parent-infant nighttime interactions. Infant Mental Health Journal, 17(4): 348-357.
Heron, P. (1994). Nonreactive Co-sleeping and Child Behavior: Getting a Good Night's Sleep All Night Every Night. Masters Thesis, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Lee et al. (1999). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Hong Kong: Confirmation of Low Incidence. British Medical Journal 298: 72.
Lewis, R.J., Janda, L.H. (1988). The relationship between adult sexual adjustment and childhood experience regarding exposure to nudity, sleeping in the parental bed, and parental attitudes toward sexuality. Arch Sex Beh,17:349-363.
McKenna, J.J. (1990). Evolution and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: I. Infant responsivity to parental contact. Human Nature, 1(2): 145-177. (See all his references at www.nd.edu/~alfac/mckenna)
Mitchell, E. A., et al. (1997). Risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome following the prevention campaign in New Zealand: a prospective study. Pediatrics, 100(5): 835-40.
Mosenkis, J. (1998). The Effects of Childhood Cosleeping On Later Life Development. Masters Thesis. University of Chicago. Dept. of Human Dev.).
Mosko, S., Richard, C. & McKenna, J. (1997). Maternal sleep and arousals during bedsharing with infants. Sleep 20(2): 142-150.
Nelson, E. A. and Chan, P. H. (1996). Child care practices and cot death in Hong Kong. New Zealand Med. 109(1020): 144-6.
Nelson et al. (2001). SIDS Global Task Force Child Care Study. Early Human Development 62: 43-55
Oppenheim, D. (1998). Perspectives on infant mental health from Israel: The case of changes in collective sleeping on the kibbutz. Infant Mental Health Journal, 19(1): 76-86.
Richard, C., Mosko, S., & J.J. McKenna (1996). Sleeping position, orientation and proximity in bedsharing infants and mothers. Sleep, 19(9): 685-90.
Richard, C. A., et al. (1998). Apnea and periodic breathing in bed-sharing and solitary sleeping infants. Journal of Applied Physiology, 84(4): 1374-80.
Sankaran et al. (2000) “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Infant Care Practices in Saskatchewan, Canada,” Program and Abstracts, Sixth SIDS International Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, February 8-11, 2000.
Skragg, R. K., et al. (1996). Infant room-sharing and prone sleep position in sudden infant death syndrome. New Zealand Cot Death Study Group. Lancet, 347(8993): 7-12.
Formerly known as Paleo Pregnancy & Parenting,
Mikaela's personal blog explores topics relating to ancestral-based nutrition, pregnancy, undisturbed birth, and natural parenting.