Posts Tagged ‘ sleep training ’

Sleep-Deprived Babies May Face Obesity Risk Later

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Babies who don’t get enough sleep may end up weighing more later in childhood, according to a study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.  More from Time.com:

Plenty of studies connect poor sleep habits in adults to obesity, but few track the long term effect of infants’ sleep throughout childhood. That’s why Dr. Elsie Taveras, chief of general pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, and her colleagues followed babies every year from 6 months old until they were 7. At each visit, the team recorded height, weight, body fat, waist and hip circumference and sleep habit information to get the most complete picture yet of how sleep patterns are connected to childhood health.

Taveras rated the children’s sleep according to the recommended amounts for their age group set by the National Sleep Foundation and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute—for those under 2, that was more than 12 hours a day; for 3-4 year olds, that was more than 10 hours a day; and for kids 5 to 7, that was more than nine hours daily. At age 7, children with the lowest sleep scores throughout their young lives had the highest rates of obesity and body fat, specifically abdominal fat which other studies have linked to a higher risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

What sets Taveras’ work apart is that it shows how consistently disrupted sleep throughout childhood can have a cumulative effect on health. “This lends more evidence to the fact that insufficient sleep has significant health implications,” she says.

Consistently skimping on shut-eye, especially at an early age, may interfere with appetite hormones that control how hungry and full we feel. And because sleep is an important time for the body’s metabolism to reset itself, sleep deprivation can also skew the body’s circadian clock, changing the body’s ability to burn calories from the diet and leading to higher blood sugar levels.

The researchers recommend that parents maximize their kids’ sleep with healthy practices including consistent bedtime routines, limiting stimulating food and drink–especially caffeine-containing beverages–and eliminating electronic devices like televisions or mobile devices from kids’ bedrooms.

Need help getting Baby to sleep? Here’s what you need to know now!


Baby Sleep: Get the Facts
Baby Sleep: Get the Facts
Baby Sleep: Get the Facts

Image: Sleeping toddler, via Shutterstock

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Sleep-Training Strategies Found to Be Effective, Not Harmful

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Sleep-training techniques that fall into the controversial “cry-it-out” category are actually effective and do not cause psychological harm if conducted in a controlled, consistent way, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.  Time.com has more:

The study looked at two sleep-training methods known as controlled comforting and camping out, both of which let babies cry it out for short amounts of time. Controlled comforting requires the parent to respond to their child’s cries at increasingly longer intervals to try to encourage the baby to settle down on her own. In camping out, the parent sits in a chair next to the child as he learns to fall asleep; slowly, over time, parents move the chair farther and farther away, until they are out of the room and the infant falls asleep alone.

While neither strategy is as extreme as letting babies cry all night by themselves, they have been criticized over concerns that they may cause long-term emotional or psychological harm in babies, interfere with their ability to manage stress or cripple their relationship with their parents.

The new study by Australian researchers involved 326 children who had parent-reported sleep problems at 7 months. Half of the babies were put in the sleep-training group, in which parents learned helpful bedtime routines as well as the controlled-comforting or camping-out technique (parents could choose which strategy they wanted to use), and half were put in a control group that did not use sleep-training. The researchers followed up with the participants and their parents five years later. (By the study’s end, about 30% of families had dropped out.)

By age 6, the researchers found no significant differences between the kids in either group in terms of emotional health, behavior or sleep problems. In fact, slightly more children in the control group had emotional or behavioral problems than in the sleep-trained group.

Researchers also found no differences in mothers’ levels of depression or anxiety, or in the strength of parent-child bonds between families who had used sleep-training and those who hadn’t.

Image: Crying baby in crib, via Shutterstock

 

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