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Study: Poor sleep in infancy linked to behavioral issues

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 12-03-2020
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Study: Poor sleep in infancy linked to behavioral issues
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Researchers have found that disrupted and poor quality sleep in the earliest months of a child's life can be an indicator of depression, anxiety and behavioral problems among toddlers. The study, published in the journal BMJ Paediatrics Open, found a clear relationship between sleep problems in infancy such as frequent night wakings, short sleep duration or difficulty in falling asleep and particular emotional and behavioral problems at 24 months of age.

Although childhood sleep problems are extremely common and their association with daytime behavioral difficulties is well recognized, this study shows for the first time how sleep problems in infancy and very early childhood are associated with emotional and behavioral problems later in childhood.

"Our results show that infants who sleep for shorter periods of time, take longer to fall asleep and wake up more frequently during the night are more likely to show emotional and behavioral problems in later stages of childhood," said lead researcher Isabel Morales-Munoz from University of Birmingham in the UK.

"It's likely that sleep quality in these early months and the development of self-regulation – the ability to control our behavior – are closely intertwined," Morales-Munoz added. For the findings, the research team studied the results of two sleep questionnaires completed by parents within the CHILD-SLEEP birth-cohort, a large study cohort based in southern Finland.
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