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  1. HARVEY MARCOVITCH, Editor in chief

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Arch Dis Child 2001 Volume 84 No 1

How much for a night's sleep?

Cost effectiveness rivals evidence based medicine as a 21st century shibboleth. At least in the UK it is no longer sufficient to show that a treatment works; or even that you only have to treat 978 patients to achieve one success. You must also calculate how great a strain it will prove on the public purse. This month, Morris and colleagues (page 15) look at how much of the NHS treasure chest slips away at the insistent demand of crying or non-sleeping babies. Their answer is £65 million a year. Helpfully, they point out this would employ over 2000 nurses or buy 14 million doses of sildenafil. Educational intervention with families costs an extra £4.13 per interruption-free night, and a behavioural programme costs just 56p (US$1). Most parents would consider this money well spent although the manufacturers of sildenafil may conclude otherwise.*

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  • * Footnote: exercising enormous restraint, because he must be thoroughly tired [sic] of it, we forbore to mention that a co-author is J Sleep.

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