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Most Babies Start Sleeping Through Night at 2 to 4 Months
Date:10/25/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- New research may offer some relief to sleep-starved parents: Most infants will start sleeping through the night between 2 and 4 months of age.

What may take a little longer, however, is for the baby's eight hours of slumber to conform to the family's sleep schedule, according to the study.

"The most rapid changes in infant sleep were found to occur over the first four months of life. Previously, we underestimated infants' capabilities for sleeping through the night, and we found that if an infant is sleeping for the traditional period of night sleep -- five hours from midnight to 5 a.m. -- then they are also sleeping for eight hours. Infants are most likely to begin sleeping through for this period at 2 months of age, with over 50 percent doing so at four months," said study author Jacqueline Henderson, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

"Given this, we examined another definition of 'a night's sleep' that better suits family members' sleep requirements, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. We found infants are most likely to begin sleeping during this period at age 3 months, with over 50 percent doing so at five months," she said.

Still, many infants -- as their beleaguered parents will attest -- won't meet these milestones, even at 1 year of age.

"By the end of the first year, 87 percent of infants are sleeping for five hours, 86 percent for eight hours and 73 percent of infants from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.," Henderson noted.

For the study, Henderson and her colleagues recruited parents of 75 full-term infants who agreed to complete sleep diaries for six days each month. The researchers verified the information in the sleep diaries using a video sleep study.

They assessed the infant sleep using one of three criteria: uninterrupted sleep from midnight to 5 a.m., at least eight uninterrupted ho
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