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The infant baby enrichment research programme (ENRICH)

Project aim

Discover the relationship between sleep and infant development through the work of two interlinked projects, BabySMART and GentleTouch.

What this means

This study is focused on understanding how sleep contributes to the healthy development of infants. Studies have shown that brain development and learning are heavily influenced by sleep. Regular, quality sleep helps to optimise physical growth and brain development, while a lack of sleep has been linked to long-term negative impacts on behaviour and learning ability. The ENRICH programme will research the effects of lifestyles, sensory experiences and sleep patterns on the cognitive development of healthy infants.


We plan to recruit 75 babies in the UK across both projects. The study opened in early 2018.


This is a randomised study which includes a baby massage programme prior to sleep. Parents randomised to the intervention arm will be trained in massage with the aim of a more structured sleep routine, and improved development and cognitive outcomes. Those randomised to the non-intervention arm will follow their normal/planned sleep and care routine.

Participants will be recruited within the first week of life and will be seen at two weeks, four months and 18 months of age. A baby sleep/bathing diary will be kept by parents and questionnaires will be completed at appointments. A sleep EEG will be taken at both the four and 18 month appointments and developmental assessment (Griffiths III) will be conducted.


A subset of 20 BabySMART participants will be approached to also take part in the GentleTouch part of the study. This will aim to determine the effects of pleasant touch administered to a baby's forearm in the supine and prone positions and observe if a cortical response can be recorded. This will require additional EEGs being taken at the age of four weeks and also at four months.


Ronit Pressler, Geraldine Boylan.

Cyber EssentialsFundraising RegulatorYoung Epilepsy is the operating name of The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy (NCYPE).
Registered Charity number 311877 (England and Wales)

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