New Data on Infant Sleep During COVID-19 to Be Presented at 2020 European Sleep (ESRS) Congress

NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Flinders University in partnership with Nanit, developers of the leading smart baby monitor and sleep tracker, will present the findings of two collaborative research studies on infant sleep at the 25th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS 2020), held online this year from September 22 – 24. The new studies are the first to use objective sleep measurement to examine how infant sleep was impacted by the onset of COVID-19 in the United States as well as the role parental behavior plays in perceived infant sleep problems pre-pandemic.

In both studies, researchers at Flinders University and Nanit employed Nanit’s AI-powered smart baby monitors to objectively track infant sleep quality along with data reported by parents.

In the first and most comprehensive look at the effect COVID-19 has had on infant sleep, parents of over 600 infants in the U.S. ages 1 – 30 months participated in a semi-monthly survey and consented to have sleep data from their Nanit monitor collected from mid-March to mid-May 2020. The study then compared parents who were in quarantine or sheltering in place, to parents who were designated as essential workers during the pandemic. Results of the longitudinal study revealed that:

  • At the end of March, parents who were quarantined or sheltered in place had infants that woke up an average of 12% more, were visited more by their parents at night and had earlier bedtimes than the babies of parents who continued to leave home daily, as essential workers.
  • These differences in sleep were no longer apparent in April and May, reflecting the infants’ (or parents’) adjustment to the new situation.

Nanit Director of Clinical Research and co-author of the study Dr. Natalie Barnett, explains, “Getting enough sleep is a major source of worry for new parents – one that was there before COVID-19 and it will continue to be after the threat is gone. We know that the pandemic has disrupted day-to-day routines as well as the health and well-being of families across the world, but what we found in our research helps demonstrate the resilience of infants and gives us hope that babies can adapt with the current uncertainty.”

In another cross-sectional study being presented at ESRS 2020, Flinders University and Nanit provide objective evidence demonstrating the link between parental involvement and perceived infant sleep problems, finding that the most potent predictor of perceived infant sleep problems was an aspect of parental – rather than infant – behavior. 

The study analyzed data collected from 946 parents from around the globe with babies aged 2 weeks to 18 months. Using Nanit’s computer vision technology, researchers measured infant sleep metrics (nighttime sleep duration, sleep onset and wake up time and nighttime parental visits) for 14 consecutive days. Perceived infant sleep problems, parent depression levels, and cry tolerance were also reported by parents in an online survey.

Results showed the factor most strongly associated with perceived infant sleep problems was parental nighttime crib visits, as every additional visit was associated with a 31% increase in odds of parent-defined infant sleep problems followed by parents low cry tolerance and greater parental depressional levels.

Dr. Michal Kahn, lead author of the studies and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Flinders University stated, “This research shines light on how much parents’ behaviors and emotions factor into their belief that their child has a sleep problem, in contrast to realistic aspects of the child’s sleep. Our collaboration with Nanit is opening up exciting new opportunities to accurately and quickly understand infant sleep and the role parental behavior plays in an infant’s sleep outcome. And while there’s still much more to learn, this novel technology can help us move pediatric sleep research forward in ways never before possible.”

To view the abstracts that Dr. Kahn will present at ESRS 2020, visit: 

Flinders University is a globally focused, locally engaged institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching, learning and research. A highly research active university, Flinders is finding solutions to the world’s challenges and contributing to social, cultural, and economic growth. Ninety percent of its research has been ranked at or above world class by Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). Flinders University’s research achievements are underpinned by a robust network of partnerships with organisations and industries and are an important part of Flinders’ exceptional student experience.

Founded at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute by Dr. Assaf Glazer, Tor Ivry and Andrew Berman, Nanit uses technology, science and data to create innovative products that are safer and smarter, for parents and babies everywhere. Named by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies of 2019, Nanit combines computer vision, machine learning and advanced camera sensors that measure a baby’s sleep cycle and breathing motion, to provide actionable insights that lead to healthier, improved sleep for the baby and the entire family.

Nanit’s Research division has ongoing partnerships with major universities and institutions that explore pediatric sleep and development. Advisors have included world-renowned sleep experts Dr. Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University, Dr. Deborah Estrin of Cornell Tech, Dr. Thomas Anders of Brown University, Dr. David Gozal of University of Missouri, Dr. Michael Gradisar of Flinders University and Dr. Haviva Veler of Weill Cornell Medicine. Since launching in 2016, Nanit has tracked over 135 million hours of sleep, 28 million parental visits, and over 13 million morning wakeups.  For more information, visit

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SOURCE Nanit; Flinders University

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