menu toggle icon
menu toggle icon
menu toggle icon

Nanit’s Sleep Study: What You Need to Know

Nanit, a leader in child sleep technology and data, shared the details and results of their child sleep training study, but they overlooked the most critical factor in pediatric sleep. Nanit analyzed child behavior, but sleep training is most affected by parent behavior

In 2022, Nanit published their internal sleep study, “Implementation of Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems in Real-World Settings.” Research titles can be a bit overwhelming at times, so to clarify, Nanit conducted a child sleep training study.

As experts in pediatric sleep intervention, Batelle values Nanit’s research and analysis, and we want to help break down and share as much of the relevant data as possible. The original research publication can be accessed through The Journal of Pediatrics; however, for those who hesitate to purchase a subscription to read through its 30+ pages, we have provided a summary and analysis below.

An Important Preface to the Study

This research study is so important because it’s one of the largest pediatric sleep studies to date, supported by technology-derived, objective infant sleep data. But that’s also the limitation of the study…

Nanit focused so heavily on objective sleep data and child behavior to make conclusions about sleep interventions that they neglected the most critical component of sleep training – parental behavior.

Nanit concluded that infants who were sleep trained using the Unmodified Extinction Method (cry-it-out) and/or the Modified Extinction Method (modified cry-it-out) displayed greater sleep consolidation, less frequent night wakes, and faster overall sleep improvement than those who used Parental PresenceUnmodified Extinction was considered to be the most helpful method, Modified Extinction was rated next, and Parental Presence was rated as the least helpful method.

The study was uncontrolled, parent intervention varied in consistency and method, and none of the parental interventions were monitored for efficacy. Data was also concluded using out-dated sleep training experiences (up to 12 months prior to the sleep survey), leading to a deviation in recall, otherwise known as retrospection bias.

Batelle seeks to produce data that is accurate, informative, and relevant to the how of pediatric sleep intervention because we know that the how is one of the greatest catalysts in improving children’s sleep. While Batelle has yet to publish an official sleep study (this is in the works!), we have supported, monitored, and gathered real-time experiential data from over 2,500 families during their sleep training experience.

Our company can offer money-backed guaranteed sleep training results because of the interactive and supportive design of our Sleep School program. Our method of parental engagement and sleep intervention has been closely monitored, appropriately adapted, and implemented in real-world environments providing us with mass evidence of our method’s efficacy.

So while Nanit’s research provides us with further insights into pediatric sleep, bear in mind that it does not account for any parental engagement necessary to gauge the efficacy of specific sleep interventions. As a company specializing in infant sleep training, Batelle endeavors to soon produce research of our own, focusing specifically on parental behavior. After all, you as the parent are the key to establishing good sleep habits in your child.

Study Overview

Who was involved?

  • The study was comprised of users of the Nanit Pro Baby Camera who had previously consented to research data collection and then opted to participate in the sleep study with their child.
  • The study consisted of 2,090 children between the ages of 3 months and 18 months of age.

What was the study?

Nanit used a combination of parent surveys and product data to research the effects of behavioral sleep interventions (sleep training) on pediatric sleep.
  • Parents completed a sleep survey to record information regarding their child’s sleep as well as their own parental sleep, their mental and emotional well-being, their daytime performance, their sleep training behaviors, and their relationship with their child.
  • Nanit used the Nanit Pro Baby Camera to study infant sleep efficacy by recording bedtime, wakings, and parent intervention.
  • To conduct the study, Nanit gathered and analyzed the auto-videosomnography (video monitoring) data of infants from the two weeks before the completion of the parent sleep survey.

When was the study conducted?

  • Nanit used the monitoring features of the Nanit Pro Camera to gather sleep efficacy data over a 14-day period in September 2021.
  • All Nanit sleep technology data was gathered from the two weeks prior to the completion of the parent sleep survey.

Where was the study conducted?

  • The entire sleep study was conducted in the homes of the study subjects. In-home studies are less controlled; however, the majority of behavioral sleep intervention (sleep training) is implemented in uncontrolled, home environments.

What was the purpose of the study?

  • The study sought to research, assess, and compare the safety, efficacy, and difficulty of various pediatric behavioral sleep interventions.
  • The study assessed the practical efficacy and implementation of behavioral sleep interventions in real-world environments.
  • Other pediatric sleep studies, such as Randomized Clinical Trials (RCT), are conducted in clinical settings, and they often require study subjects with more severe sleep difficulties which makes for a less diverse and less relatable study group.

A More Comprehensive Analysis

Deeper Explanation of the Study

In September 2021, Nanit conducted an infant sleep study to assess the implementation and efficacy of behavioral sleep interventions (BSI) in real-world settings. To conduct the study, Nanit invited all Nanit Pro Baby Camera users who had previously consented to research data collection to participate in the sleep study in exchange for a raffle entry.

Nanit received responses from 3,069 families; however, only 2,090 children were eligible to participate in the study. 

  • The child was between the ages of 3 months and 18 months of age.
  • If the parents use[d] a behavioral sleep intervention method with their child, they must have used the method within the last 12 months.
  • They must have had 4+ nights of analyzable sleep data within the 14 days prior to the parent sleep survey.

The metrics Nanit used to measure sleep consisted of night sleep duration (total minutes), number of night wakes (minimum 3min wake duration), and number of parent crib visits. After collecting the two weeks of technology-recorded sleep data from the children that met the requirements, Nanit had a total of 24,506 nights of sleep data to assess.

To gain further information regarding sleep and behavioral sleep interventions, Nanit also conducted a survey with families to understand their child’s sleep as well as their own parental sleep, their mental and emotional well-being, their daytime performance, their sleep training behaviors, and their relationship with their child.

  • Perception of Child’s Sleep: “Do you consider your child’s sleep as a problem?
  • Sleep Intervention Approach Details:
    • Child’s age at the beginning of method implementation
    • Duration (days) of method implementation
    • Frequency of method implementation (bedtimes, night wakes, and/or naps)
    • Duration (days) until sleep improved
    • Difficulty of method implementation
    • Helpfulness of method implementation
  • Parent Sleep: The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) was used for assessment
  • Parent Daytime Fatigue: The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was used for assessment
  • Parent Depression: The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used for assessment
  • Parent and Child Relationship: The Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire (PBQ) was used for assessment
  • Parent Demographics: Data was collected regarding parents’ genders, ages, ethnicities, education, employment status, household income, residence, and number of children
  • Child Demographics: Data was collected regarding children’s genders, ages, breastfeeding status, and sleep environment (room-sharing with parents or not) 

Based on the answers collected in the surveys, families were then categorized into four behavioral sleep intervention groups for research analysis:

  • 24.4% of families reported using an Unmodified Extinction Method (Cry-It-Out)
  • 32.9% of families reported using a Modified Extinction Method (Controlled Crying)
  • 6.5% of families reported using Parental Presence
  • 36.2% of families reported not using any Behavioral Sleep Interventions (BSI)

Any family that reported implementing more than one behavioral sleep intervention method was categorized by the method that they used most recently.

Conclusions of the Study | Method Comparisons

According to the parent sleep survey data, the Unmodified Extinction Method (Cry-It-Out) and the Modified Extinction Method (Controlled Crying), “were rated as significantly more difficult to implement compared with Parental Presence,” but they were also considered to be “more helpful, shorter, and quicker to show improvements.” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M).

The infants who were sleep trained using the Unmodified Extinction Method and/or the Modified Extinction Method also displayed greater sleep consolidation, less frequent night wakes, and faster overall sleep improvement. Unmodified Extinction was considered to be the most helpful method, Modified Extinction was rated next, and Parental Presence was rated as the least helpful method.

“Parents who had implemented Parental Presence were likely to perceive their infant’s current sleep as more problematic compared with parents who had implemented [the other methods]” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M). The results of the study also “suggest that when implemented in real-world settings, Parental Presence may be less effective in improving infant sleep than Unmodified and Modified Extinction” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M).

Cautions and Limitations of the Study

  • The parent sleep survey allowed parents to share their experiences with sleep training interventions that they had implemented up to 12 months prior to the sleep survey they completed. The potential time gap between the experience of sleep training and the sleep survey negatively impacts the accuracy of the data.
  • The auto-videosomnography (video monitoring) technology that Nanit used for the study is similar to actigraphy; however, it hasn’t undergone the same testing and validation process. Because of this, auto-videosomnographic data must be considered “exploratory.”
  • According to parent surveys, “the average age at [time of BSI] implementation was ~5 months of age, which is younger than typically recommended” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M).
  • Variable parental roles and factors affect the efficacy of behavioral sleep interventions. Parents with high anxiety around sleep and sleep intervention and/or parents with low cry tolerances often have poorer results with behavioral sleep interventions.
  • “This was not a controlled trial, and participants were not randomized; conclusions regarding causality cannot be inferred” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M).
  • 13.9% of parents recorded that they implemented more than one type of behavioral sleep intervention method which may affect the data.
  • The ‘No BSI’ study group contains some families who do not need to implement any interventions because their infant sleeps well and some families who choose not to use interventions regardless of their infant’s sleep difficulties.
  • The studied families were “comprised mostly of educated White US parents from middle-high socioeconomic backgrounds, which may limit the generalizability of the findings” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M).
  • Because of uncontrollable parent factors, the study did not provide evidence supporting a specific and regulated method of sleep training. Just of the four category groups listed, parent implementation can vary heavily.

Why does this matter?

The study was uncontrolled, some of the data was incomplete, and the details of the sleep interventions were undefined, but this study opened the doors for real-world pediatric sleep research. Sleep is a very common, real-world problem, so it is vital that we prioritize more real-world studies and data to support the pediatric sleep industry.

Unfortunately, “15–25% of infants meet criteria for pediatric insomnia… [and it] tends to persist when untreated” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M). Pediatric insomnia is an undeniable strain on both an infant and the family unit supporting them because sleep affects everything. Infantile sleep difficulties are closely linked to “adverse short-term and long-term… problems, including child physiological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral difficulties, and poor parent health and wellbeing” (Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M).

This study generated further evidence that behavioral sleep interventions are not only safe but also more effective than alternative methods. Despite this study’s construction, there are more than four sleep intervention types available to choose from when deciding the most supportive method for your child and your family.

Batelle’s method merges the closeness, responsiveness, and emotional support of Parent Presence with the structure and efficacy of Modified Behavioral Interventions to guarantee the best results for our families. Nanit’s research conclusions are sound, and sleep training is undoubtedly safe and supportive for a child, but we also know that Nanit’s technology cannot track a child’s internal experience.

Bedtime protests and nighttime cries are a child’s way of expressing the emotions they don’t have the words for. At Batelle, we encourage a responsive and communicative relationship between parents and their children. We want children to trust sleep, trust that their parents will be there in times of need, and develop genuine internal regulation skills. Because of these philosophies and because of various cognitive research, we cannot promote Cry-It-Out methods that encourage parents and children to disengage from one another. To better understand, watch the video message from a neuroscientist who went through our program.


All things considered, families should explore the approaches that align most with their parenting and life preferences, and if you are in search of something more holistic, something routed in attachment-parenting, and something that will foster strong developmental skills for your child, we encourage you to reach out.




Kahn M, Barnett N, Gradisar M, Implementation of Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems in Real-world Settings, The Journal of Pediatrics (2022), doi: https://

Schwichtenberg AJ, Choe J, Kellerman A, Abel EA, Delp EJ. Pediatric Videosomnography: Can Signal/Video Processing Distinguish Sleep and Wake States? Front Pediatr. 2018 Jun 19;6:158. doi: 10.3389/fped.2018.00158. PMID: 29974042; PMCID: PMC6020776.

For press or PR enquiries, please contact [email protected].

This article was written by Batelle – a team of sleep experts, lactation consultants, therapists, doulas, and early education specialists.

You might also like