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Sleep Duration Tied to Infant Growth Spurts

Last Updated: May 09, 2011.

Increased sleep duration and episodes among infants appear to be associated with growth spurts in body length, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of SLEEP.

MONDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Increased sleep duration and episodes among infants appear to be associated with growth spurts in body length, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of SLEEP.

Michelle Lampl, Ph.D., M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and Michael L. Johnson, Ph.D., of the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, evaluated daily parental diaries of sleep onset and awakening that were continuously recorded for 23 infants (14 females) over four to 17 months (5,798 daily records).

The investigators identified peaks in individual sleep of 4.5 more hours and/or three more naps per day, compared to intervening intervals, that were non-randomly concordant with saltatory length growth for all infants (P < 0.05), with a time lag of up to four days. They found that peaks in total daily sleep duration and the number of sleep episodes were significantly related to measurable body length growth spurts. The investigators also found that the probability of a growth spurt increased by a median of 43 percent for every additional sleep episode and 20 percent for every additional hour of sleep.

"The results demonstrate empirically that growth spurts not only occur during sleep but are significantly influenced by sleep," Lampl said in a statement. "Longer sleep corresponds with greater growth in body length."

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