S11 Factors affecting infant physiology during sleep


During infancy sleep is at a lifetime maximum with infants spending up to three quarters of each 24 hours asleep. Sleep has a marked effect on physiology. This symposium will discuss the development of sleep and how sleep effects cardiovascular and respiratory function over the first year of life. Various factors which are known to increase the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy will be discussed in terms of their effects on infant physiology. These will include sleeping position, co-sleeping or bed-sharing and maternal consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking.

Dr Plancoulaine will describe the sleep habits (including room and bed sharing) associated with infant sleep characteristics at age 1 in the French nationwide birth cohort ELFE. This cohort recruited 18,300 infants at birth in 2011.

Prof Horne will describe the effects of sleeping position in heart rate, blood pressure and cerebral oxygenation and their control and the likely mechanisms for increasing the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy in both term and preterm infants.

Prof Baddock will describe  cardiorespiratory and temperature data from infants in a range of sleep environments - while directly co-sleeping/bedsharing with adults, while in a wahakura (indigenous portable flax bassinet designed to be on the adult bed) and while sleeping in a separate standalone bassinet. This will provide a physiological basis to the underlying risks associated with infant sleep location.

Prof Fifer will discuss the underlying mechanisms for the negative effects of prenatal tobacco and alcohol exposure (PTE and PAE) on birth outcomes and childhood development. His work focuses on a possible pathway for the adverse outcomes associated with PTE and PAE is due to the alteration of autonomic nervous system development assessed during fetal sleep.

Prof Patricia Franco will discuss the relationship between autonomic control as assessed by heart rate variability assessed longitudinally across the first 2 years of life with neurocognitive function at 3 years of age.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this CME activity, participants should be able to:

      • Recognize the changes in sleep that occur across the first year of life
      • Identify the effects of sleeping position on the cardiorespiratory system and its control
      • Explain how bedsharing alters infant physiology
      • Describe how maternal consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking can alter sleep and infant physiology during sleep
      • Recognize the relationship between the development of the central nervous system during infancy and later neurocognitive function

Target Audience

Researchers, clinicians, sleep technologists


Rosemary Horne (Australia)

Sleep habits and sleep patterns in 1-year old infants

Sabine Plancoulaine (France)

Effects of sleep position on infant physiology

Rosemary Horne (Australia)

Effects of sleep location on infant physiology

Sally Baddock (New Zealand)

Effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and smoking on fetal autonomic function during sleep

William Fifer (United States)

Impact of ANS on neurocognitive development: AuBe Study

Patricia Franco (France)

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software