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Infant Growth Spurts Tied to More Sleep

Chid asleep, closeup

May 2, 2011 -- It has often been thought that an infant’s sleeping patterns are related to his or her growth, but this theory was never documented until now.

New research in the May 1 issue of Sleep shows that an increase in the number of sessions of sleep, as well as an increase in total daily hours of sleep, likely means that an infant is experiencing a growth spurt.

“The results demonstrate empirically that growth spurts not only occur during sleep but are significantly influenced by sleep [and] longer sleep [equals] greater growth in body length,” says study researcher Michelle Lampl, MD, PhD, the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the department of anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, in an email.

In the new study, 23 sets of parents of newborns kept daily sleep records. Infant sleep time was compared with growth in length for durations ranging from four to 17 months.

Growth spurts in length tended to follow increased sleeping and nap time. Growth spurts usually occurred within two days of the increased sleep, the study showed.

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