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Which are the central aspects of infant sleep? The dynamic of sleep composites across infancy

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author SchochSarah, HuberReto, KohlerMalcolm, KurthSalome,
Project Development of sleep regulation - a window of opportunity for fostering healthy development
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Sensors
Volume (Issue) 20(24)
Page(s) 7188
Title of proceedings Sensors
DOI 10.3390/s20247188

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Sleep during infancy is important for the well-being of both infant and parent. Therefore, there is large interest in characterizing infant sleep with reliable tools, for example by combining actigraphy with 24-h-diaries. However, it is critical to select the right variables to characterize sleep. In a longitudinal investigation, we collected sleep data of 152 infants at ages 3, 6, and 12 months. Using principal component analysis, we identified five underlying sleep composites from 48 commonly-used sleep variables: Sleep Night, Sleep Day, Sleep Activity, Sleep Timing, and Sleep Variability. These composites accurately reflect known sleep dynamics throughout infancy as Sleep Day (representing naps), Sleep Activity (representing sleep efficiency and consolidation), and Sleep Variability (representing day-to-day stability) decrease across infancy, while Sleep Night (representing nighttime sleep) slightly increases, and Sleep Timing becomes earlier as one ages. We uncover interesting dynamics between the sleep composites and demonstrate that infant sleep is not only highly variable between infants but also dynamic within infants across time. Interestingly, Sleep Day is associated with behavioral development and therefore a potential marker for maturation. We recommend either the use of sleep composites or the core representative variables within each sleep composite for more reliable research.