Scientists have long suggested that getting enough sleep at night is vital to staying healthy. Few studies, however, highlight the necessity of sufficient sleep during the first months of life. New research from investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and collaborators suggests that newborns who sleep longer and wake up less throughout the night are less likely to be overweight in infancy. Their results are published in Sleep.
“While an association between insufficient sleep and weight gain is well-established in adults and older children, this link has not been previously recognized in infants,” said study co-author Susan Redline, MD, MPH, senior physician in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at the Brigham. “In this study, we found that not only shorter nighttime sleep, but more sleep awakenings, were associated with a higher likelihood of infants becoming overweight in the first six months of life.”