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developmental care, neonatal intensive care unit, sleep, term and preterm neonate



  1. Bertelle, V. MD
  2. Sevestre, A. MD
  3. Laou-Hap, K. RN
  4. Nagahapitiye, M. C. HN
  5. Sizun, J. MD


Recent experimental data suggest a strong role for sleep in brain development. As sleep is the predominant behavioral state in the term and especially the preterm newborn, these data underline the importance of respecting sleep duration and organization within the different sleep states. Polysomnography is the preferred technique used for identification of sleep state; however, behavioral observations-under the condition that the observer is well trained-may prove as efficient. Newborns hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit are exposed to many stimuli and care activities that disrupt their sleep organization and may have irreversible effects on their brain development. In order to improve the long-term neurobehavioral outcome of these high-risk subjects, a consistent care approach is proposed. Application of the Neonatal Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program decreases environmental stressful events and promotes harmonious well-being behaviors, based on an individual approach. This strategy has encouraging results, showing an increase in sleep duration under Neonatal Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program conditions, but further studies are needed to assess its long-term neurobehavioral impact.