It’s been long suggested that getting good sleep at night improves your mental and physical health. And now, a study published in October 2021 has revealed the necessity of enough sleep during the first 6 months of life.
The researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and their colleagues in the US carried out a study that revealed that newborns who sleep longer and wake up less are unlikely to be overweight in childhood. The results of the study have been published in the journal ‘Sleep’ of the Oxford Academy.
Study co-author and senior physician in Brigham’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders Susan Redline said, “Our new study found that not only the lack of sleep throughout the night, even being awake for longer periods also increases the risk of obesity in infants during the first 6 months.”
The study was conducted by Redline and her colleague on 298 newborns born at Massachusetts General Hospital between 2016 and 18.
The team monitored the sleep pattern of newborns using ankle actigraphy watches. Angle Actigraphy Watch is a device, which measures the patterns of a newborn’s activity and rests over multiple days. To assess the physical growth of newborns, scientists assessed their height and weight and determined their body mass index (BMI).
If a newborn falls into or above the 95th percentile on the World Health Organization’s WHO) growth charts, then s/he is classified as overweight.
Researchers found that one additional hour of sleep was associated with a 26 percent fewer chances of infants at the risk of being overweight. Meanwhile, infants, who woke up less throughout the night, were correlated with a lower risk of being overweight.
Scientists believe that self-regulation is also needed in this aspect because obesity can also be related to excessive eating.