Night Sleep and Parental Bedtime Practices in Low-Risk Preterm and Full-Term Late Talkers

Alessandra Sansavini, Martina Riva, Mariagrazia Zuccarini, Arianna Aceti, Luigi Corvaglia, Anat Scher, Annalisa Guarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Night sleep and parental bedtime practices have rarely been investigated in late talkers. This study aimed to explore: night sleep, parental bedtime practices, and their associations in late talkers as well as individual, socio-demographic, and socio-relational factors affecting them. Parents of 47 30-month-old late talkers, born low-risk preterm (n = 24) or full-term (n = 23), with an expressive vocabulary size ≤10th percentile measured by the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory Words and Sentences, and normal cognitive abilities measured by the Bayley Scales, completed the Infant Sleep Questionnaire, the Parental Interactive Bedtime Behaviour Scale, and the Parenting Stress Index Short Form. Results showed slight settling difficulties, night wakings, and frequent co-sleeping in late talkers. Encouraging autonomy practices were frequently used by parents, rather than active physical comforting ones. Recurrent settling difficulties were reported by parents who often applied encouraging autonomy practices, whereas greater night waking problems and frequent co-sleeping were reported by parents who often left their child crying. Low-risk preterm birth and mother’s parenting stress predicted total sleep difficulties and night wakings; first-born, high maternal education level and mother’s parenting stress predicted settling difficulties; mother’s parenting stress was the only predictor for co-sleeping and leaving to cry. These findings have relevant implications for improving late talkers’ night sleep and their parents’ bedtime practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1813
Issue number12
StatePublished - 24 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • birth order
  • late talkers
  • low-risk preterm birth
  • maternal education
  • night sleep
  • parental bedtime practices
  • parenting stress
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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