New research from Michigan State University suggests that babies’ sleep at night may be related to their activity levels during the day.
Researchers from Michigan State University have released a study that suggests that babies who are more active during the day may sleep better at nights. Additionally, they found that napping during the day didn’t make a difference in the amount of overall sleep the babies got during the night either.
The results were published in the Infant Behvior and Development journal. The researchers also found that babies with lower activity levels during the day not only slept less at night but were heavier (based on length) than peers and could possibly be at risk for early onset obesity.
Janet Hauck is an assistant professor of kinesiology and specializes in infant motor intervention. She said that the research showed that the association physical activity and influence on sleep that is present in older children and adults may start as early as their infancies.
Hauck’s research also looked at the effect physical activity like tummy time had on babies as they developed and grew. She said that they don’t have evidence that tummy time directly affects sleep, but they do know it increases physical activity and is common in healthy weight gains. She suggests that promoting more tummy time could help boost their activity level during the day, and in turn, lead to better sleep at night.
The study was small-scale and analyzed 22 six-month-olds. They looked at their physical activity and sleep over 24-hour-periods. They also measured length and weight. Hauck said that babies who slept less overall in the 24-hour-periods also slept the least during the night and were significantly less active in the day. She said the data showed infants who slept more than 12 hours in a day had better weight-for-length scores than those who slept fewer than 12 hours.
She suggests that physical activity in the form of interaction with their baby during floor-time activities as well as more supervised tummy time several times a day may help them sleep more at night.
Which makes sense as much research shows that tummy time is important for helping baby make neural connections, and works the brain as much as it works the baby’s core system.