New findings support the practice of swaddling babies forsleep. A study of 16 infants aged 6 to 16 weeks showed thatswaddled infants slept longer and were less likely to suddenlywake up. For the study, the infants were placed on their backsto sleep. They spent several hours sleeping unrestrained andseveral hours swaddled using sandbags and bedsheetswrapped tightly enough to immobilize their arms and legs.
The results of the study showed that when infants wereswaddled they had increased time asleep, as well as increasednon-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, or light sleep, comparedwith when they were not swaddled. The researchers alsonoted that swaddled infants are less likely to wake up on theirown but more apt to be awakened by less intense noise duringdeep, or REM, sleep. Reporting in Pediatrics (May 2005), theresearchers said that swaddling may decrease sudden infantdeath syndrome by "preventing the infants from rolling [ontotheir stomachs] and from getting their heads caught in looseblankets."The researchers said that more research is neededto assess reported complications before suggesting swaddlingfor all infants.