Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted families, yet studies on its effects on infants and their parents have thus far been sparse and based mostly on retrospective parent reporting. This study aimed to prospectively evaluate the impact of COVID-19 living conditions on infant and parent sleep, as well as infant screen exposure, parent daytime sleepiness, and parent depression levels, using multi-method assessment. Methods: Infant and parent data collected in 2020 were compared with a matched cohort collected in 2019. The total sample included 1518 US infants aged 1–18 months (M = 8.5, SD = 4.6; 54% boys). Auto-videosomnography metrics were obtained from the 14-day period prior to survey completion (number of analyzed nights: M = 12.11 SD = 2.66 in the 2019 cohort; and M = 11.91 SD = 2.41 in the 2020 cohort). Parents completed online questionnaires regarding their infant's sleep and screen exposure, as well as their own sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and depression levels. Results: Compared to 2019, infants in 2020 slept ∼40 min more per night on average, as indicated by auto-videosomnography. Infants additionally had earlier sleep timing, and increased parent-reported sleep-onset latency and nocturnal wakefulness. Infant screen time rose by 18.3 min per day for older infants, but remained stable for younger infants. Parents reported lower daytime sleepiness and higher depression symptomology during 2020, whereas no change was apparent in their sleep quality ratings. Conclusions: Restricted living conditions during COVID-19 in the USA led to increased infant screen exposure and parental depression, but also to increased infant sleep duration and reduced parent sleepiness. Future research is needed to examine the mechanistic pathways through which COVID-19 impacted on infant and parent well-being.
- Screen time