The Parent-Infant Sleep Lab is a Department of Anthropology research lab, and a research centre of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and the Wolfson Institute for Health & Well-being. It is the home for a group of researchers examining various aspects of infant and child sleep and parenting behaviour. The lab itself was opened in 2000, while the research programmes it houses have been in operation since 1995. The Sleep Lab provides opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students to become involved in our research, and we welcome enquiries. As our research team has grown our research focus has broadened to cover infant and child sleep ecology, sleep development, sleep safety, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), parental sleep, night-time infant care, feeding practices, thermal care and infant thermoregulation during sleep, twin infant sleep behaviour and physiology, postnatal ward environments and maternal-infant sleep, cross cultural infant care practices, and the evaluation of interventions affecting parental and infant sleep. We collaborate with academics from a wide range of disciplines around the world, and with a variety of research users. We created and run the Infant Sleep Info Source website for parents and health professionals in order to make academic infant sleep research findings available to parents and health professionals.
Our research wins Durham University the Queen's Anniversary Prize
Durham University has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education - the highest accolade for any academic institution and part of the national honours system in the United Kingdom. The prize from the Royal Anniversary Trust has been awarded for ‘leading influential research on parent-infant sleep with a widely-used public information service’. The awards are approved by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister from recommendations made by the Royal Anniversary Trust. Durham University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, commented: “We are hugely honoured to receive this prestigious award, which recognises the immensely valuable and wide-reaching impact of the research carried out by the team in the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab. At Durham, we aim to deliver research that is world-leading and world-changing and the work of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab is a perfect example of this commitment.”
Parent-Infant Lab Researchers Bring Anthropological Insights to Breastfeeding in New Edited Volume
Through the publication of the new edited volume Breastfeeding: New Anthropological Approaches (Routledge, 2017), anthropologists from the Parent-Infant Lab and their colleagues hope to transform conversations and research about breastfeeding and human lactation.
Drawing on case studies and analyses of key issues in the field, the book highlights the power of anthropological research to illuminate the complex, lived experience of breastfeeding. The book is the first in over 20 years to feature breastfeeding research from both sociocultural and biological anthropology, and is unique in incorporating bioarcheological work on the topic.
(17 Feb 2018) » More about New Edited Volume
How studying sleeping babies led to Royal prize
The University has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education for ‘leading influential research on parent-infant sleep with a widely-used public information service’. We caught up with the Director of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, Professor Helen Ball, to find out more about the research journey.
(8 Dec 2017) » More about how studying sleeping babies led to Royal prize
- Ball, Helen L. (2017). Evolution-informed maternal-infant health. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1(3): 0073.
- Ball, Helen L. (2017). The Atlantic Divide: contrasting U.K. & U.S. recommendations on cosleeping and bed-sharing. Journal of Human Lactation 33(4): 765-769.
- Bartick, Melissa, Tomori, Cecília & Ball, Helen L. (2017). Babies in boxes and the missing links on safe sleep: Human evolution and cultural revolution. Maternal & Child Nutrition e12544
- Robinson-Smith, Lyn & Ball, Helen L. (2017). Sleep and cognitive function in young children. The International Journal of Birth and Parent Education 5(1): 27-30.
- Sullivan, S.S. & Ball H.L. (2017). Early Childhood Pediatric Sleep Concerns for Parents: Co-sleeping. In Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. Stein, John Elsevier.
- Tomori, Cecilia (2017). The Inequities of Nighttime Breastfeeding. In Breastfeeding, Social Justice, and Equity. Smith, Paige Hall, Labbok, Miriam & Chambers, Brittany Praeclarus Press. 231-238.
To view all Sleep Lab related publications, click here.