It’s Not Just You—Poor Sleep Makes Babies Overweight Too
written by/ November 26, 2021
Adopting healthy sleep habits that follow our natural sleep patterns is of crucial importance in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As it turns out, the way you start setting these habits in the early infancy can determine how healthy we’ll be in the years to come.
Namely, a new study has discovered that, just like adults, babies whose sleep is short and disrupted are at higher risk of becoming overweight in their early childhood, and also in later years.
Considering the fact that in the period between 2017 and 2018, around 40% of Americans in their twenties and thirties were obese, this is a truly important finding.
If we want to tackle this devastatingly high percentage, we need to establish proper sleep hygiene. However, the task does not sound nearly as simple when referring to babies. What makes it even more urgent is the fact that children have a bigger need for sleep than adults to thrive.
The aforementioned study, conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, draws the conclusion that shorter and poorer sleep can lead infants to obesity.
The infants in the study wore ankle monitors, and their parents were working on a sleep journal for the child to be able to participate in the study. It was discovered that for each additional hour of sleep that the babies got, the risk of becoming overweight in the first half-year of their life became lower by 26%.
A similar positive effect of sufficient sleep was found in children who did not wake up during the night, or their wake-up episodes were shorter than 5 minutes.
The results of these findings are all the more vital in the fight against obesity if we mention the results of another related study. Put briefly, the research in question suggests that overweight two-year-olds have a 75% likelihood of being obese at the age of 35.