Monday, March 7, 2011

The Economics of Sleep Training

My wife Marie went away for the weekend, so borrowing an idea from Spousonomics, I tried to work on sleep training our daughter Sylvia (ie getting her to actually sleep in her crib all night). Here are some economic thoughts on it.

First, like the Spousonomics example Marie and I agreed I had the comparative advantage in sleep training (ie I'm better at sleeping through her crying unless she really wakes up). Granted our parenting resources are diminished when Marie is out of town, but the sleep training job only requires one parent.

Past performance does not necessarily indicate future returns, but Sylvia has adapted to this crazy concept of sleeping all night in her crib. On the first night she needed 15 minutes to go from anger at being in the crib to asleep in the past 3 nights each night it has taken half as much time as the night before. She has also slept through the night for 3 nights in a row!

Parenting is a repeated game. We have to continue to signal to lead Sylvia to believe that sleeping is her best choice (a dominant strategy).

Information is not perfect, I'm not 100% about how Sylvia feels about sleep training so I never know exactly how she'll react.

Not all sleep economies are the same, what works for Sylvia might not work for another baby or might not work for Sylvia next week.

Unexpected changes (stochastic shocks) can bring everything down. A housing crisis, a vacation, high oil prices, or a cold.

Finally, most people focus more on losses or bad outcome than good outcomes. So this is my effort to celebrate the good outcome before the bubble bursts!

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1 comment:

jwa8 said...

Way to go! Life changing, right? Glad it all worked out.