Maristella Lucchini, Michal Kahn, Emily Oster, Shambhavi Thakur, Natalie Barnett
Presented at Sleep and Breathing, Prague, 2023
Many symptoms, such as drooling, fever, diarrhea and rashes are attributed to teething in infants, both by parents and healthcare providers. One symptom considered very problematic by parents is sleep disturbances, but research on this topic is scarce and inconclusive.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between tooth eruption and changes in sleep. Based on parental report, we characterized symptom duration and how sleep was affected. Lastly, we investigated whether parental confidence in managing infant sleep was associated with likelihood of reporting changes in sleep.
Parents of 1008 US infants aged 4 to 18 months (8.3 ± 1.9 months) were recruited based on the fact that their infant had a tooth eruption in the previous 4 weeks. They answered questions about symptoms associated with tooth eruption, when symptoms appeared and when symptoms resolved. In addition we collected the BISQ-R. We report descriptive statistics.
Fifty two percent of participants reported changes in sleep as a symptom of tooth eruption. Among them, 7.4% reported more sleep, 54.6% less sleep, 87.3% more night awakenings and 38.4% more difficult bedtime. Fifty four percent of the participants who noticed changes in sleep reported that the symptoms started 1-5 days before the tooth eruption, 25% 6-10 days before and 21.5% more than 10 days before. Eighty one percent of users who noticed changes in sleep reported that it took 0-5 days for the symptoms to pass after tooth eruption, 12.4% 6-10 days and 6.6% more than 10 days. Parents who felt confident in managing their baby’s sleep were 20% less likely to report changes in sleep compared to those who didn’t feel confident (p<0.001).
This study highlights that changes in sleep coincidentally with tooth eruption are very common, in particular more night awakenings, and they are reported for a prolonged period before and after tooth eruption. Given that we know that sleep in the first year of life can be affected by many factors, future studies should focus on comparing parental reports with objective sleep metrics, to provide accurate and actionable information around clinical management.
About the Researchers
The researchers included Maristella Lucchini, Michal Kahn, Emily Oster, Shambhavi Thakur, and Natalie Barnett.
Dr. Maristella Lucchini serves as Senior Clinical Researcher at Nanit. In her role, Maristella works to secure grant funding in collaboration with Nanit’s university research partners and supports the development of the company’s research collaborations around the world. Previously, Maristella served as an Assistant Research Scientist in the Division of Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center where she led projects across several cohorts focusing on sleep health for pregnant and postpartum women and their children. Maristella’s research focused on underserved communities and sleep health disparities in the perinatal period. During her years as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry, Maristella was selected to participate in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Young Investigator Research Forum. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.
Dr. Michal Kahn is a sleep researcher and licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in pediatric insomnia and sleep development. She is a senior lecturer (assistant professor) at the School of Psychological Sciences at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
- Shambhavi Thakur serves as Clinical Research Data Analyst at Nanit. She holds a Masters degree in Health Informatics and Life Sciences. She oversees the research collaborations with various universities and analyzes sleep data for internal as well as external studies.
- Dr. Natalie Barnett serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.