I am a social worker and parent in Australia concerned about the western practice of a method called 'controlled crying' that is used on infants to get them to sleep. This blog talks about the use of this method and other parenting methods. Search all the information on this site to be better informed about the practice of controlled crying. For any comments or questions, my email is

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sleep deprivation

Parent sleep deprivation is the reason some practitioners give for the use of controlled crying on infants. Some claim that by reducing sleep deprivation in mothers, supposedly via controlled crying getting the infant to seemingly 'sleep better' (and this can certainly be debated), that this enables the parents to cope better with Post Natal Depression (PND). I believe there are many flaws in this argument. Firstly, it is almost impossible to separate sleep deprivation from early parenthood, and secondly that there are many influences in an individuals environment that would effect PND, not just sleep. In addition to this, different people have different reactions and symptoms of PND, and some do not suffer difficulties sleeping. In addition, the effectiveness of controlled crying on getting an infant to sleep longer is not always successful. I also find the below information on sleep deprivation very interesting, as it adds another dimension;

This is from Wikipedia online;

Sleep deprivation is an overall lack of the necessary amount of sleep. A person can be deprived of sleep by their own body and mind, as a consequence of some sleep disorders, or actively deprived by another individual. Sleep deprivation is sometimes used as an instrument of torture, but it has also been shown to be an effective treatment of depression.

As a treatment for depression
Recent studies show sleep deprivation has some potential in the treatment of depression. About 60% of patients, when sleep-deprived, show immediate recovery, with most relapsing the following night. The incidence of relapse can be decreased by combining sleep deprivation with medication [2]. Incidentally, many tricyclic antidepressants happen to suppress REM sleep, providing additional evidence for a link between mood and sleep [3].

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