Some babies do not like sleeping and do not let their parents sleep as well. Some babies, on the contrary, are very good sleepers and always totally satisfy their needs of sleeping up to 10 hours a day. Recently, s group of the experts from the department of anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, conducted a research trying to find out whether sleeping is linked to growing up in babies, just like our grandmas tended to believe. It turned out that – yes, the old notion does have scientific background and after a good sleep, a baby always wakes up taller.
The study involved working with 23 families with newborn babies, average 12 days. The parents were asked to keep tracks of their babies’ sleep patterns and waking up routine. All other details, like whether the baby was breast-fed or formula-fed, or whether the baby displayed the symptoms like vomiting, gas, diarrhea, high fever and so on, were also taken into account. Also, the scientists regularly measured the length of the babies, as often as twice a week.
The findings were really interesting and exciting. Every change in the baby’s sleep patterns, or every time the baby had a tendency to sleep more, a substantial growth spurt was following. The scientists estimated that 43% of babies experienced an obvious growth spurt with every extra hours of sleep they took. 20% of babies displayed growth spurt when they were taking increased number of naps on a day-to-day basis. At that, the scientists reported that baby girls were more likely to take less number of naps that baby boys. Also, those babies who were fed with formula tended to have longer but less frequent naps compared to the breast-fed babies.
These findings turned out to be first of the kind that confirmed the links between sleep patterns and growing up in babies. “Little is known about the biology of growth spurts. Our data opens the window to further scientific study of the mechanisms and pathways that underlie salutatory growth,” says Michelle Lampl, one of the research team leaders. “Sleep irregularities can be distressing to parents,” the specialist adds. “However, these findings give babies a voice that helps parents understand them and show that seemingly erratic sleep behavior is a normal part of development. Babies really aren’t trying to be difficult.”