Professor Helen Ball – Infant Sleep

Professor Helen Ball

Anthropology Department, Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, & Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS)

Durham University, Durham, UK

Helen Ball

Helen Ball obtained her PhD in Biological Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1992. Her undergraduate degree was in Human Biology, and her interests span both biology and anthropology.

She established the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab at Durham University in 2000, was promoted to Professor in 2007 and became Head of the Anthropology Department in 2013.

Broadly defined, her research examines the sleep ecology of infants, young children and their parents. This encompasses attitudes and practices regarding infant sleep, behavioural and physiological monitoring of infants and their parents during sleep, infant sleep development, and the discordance between cultural sleep preferences and biological sleep needs.

She conducts research in hospitals and the community, and contributes to national and international policy and practice guidelines on infant care (see She oversees the translation of academic research on infant sleep into evidence for use by parents and healthcare staff via ISIS — the Infant Sleep Information Source website (

The Breastfeeding Festival is thrilled that Helen will be speaking to us about Infant Sleep at this year’s festival.