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Study is the first to link sleep duration to infant growth spurts
Date:4/30/2011

DARIEN, Ill. A study in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep is the first to show that increased bursts of sleep among infants are significantly associated with growth spurts in body length.

Results show that infants had irregular bursts of sleep, with 24-hour sleep duration increasing at irregular intervals by an average of 4.5 hours per day for two days. The number of sleep episodes per day also increased in intermittent bursts of an average of three extra naps per day for two days. These peaks in total daily sleep duration and number of sleep episodes were significantly associated with measurable growth spurts in body length, which tended to occur within 48 hours of the recorded bursts of sleep. Further analysis found that the probability of a growth spurt increased by a median of 43 percent for each additional sleep episode and 20 percent for each additional hour of sleep.

"The results demonstrate empirically that growth spurts not only occur during sleep but are significantly influenced by sleep," said principal investigator and lead author Dr. Michelle Lampl, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the department of anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. "Longer sleep corresponds with greater growth in body length."

Lampl added that the results may be particularly helpful for parents, who can become easily frustrated by the variability and unpredictability of an infant's sleep patterns.

"On a practical, everyday level, it helps parents understand their infant's behavior and patterns," she said.

The study involved 23 parents who consistently recorded daily sleep records for their infant, providing 5,798 daily records for analysis. The median age of the 14 girls and nine boys at study onset was 12 days. All infants were healthy at birth and free of colic or medical complications during their first year. For a duration ranging from four to 17 continuous months, growth in total body length was as
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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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