Increases in nighttime sleep duration and reductions in waking bouts are associated with lower odds of overweight among infants aged 1 to 6 months, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in SLEEP.
Xiaoyu Li, from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues studied 298 full-term infants to examine the longitudinal association of changes in objectively assessed sleep/wake patterns with changes in growth between ages 1 and 6 months.
The mean birth weight for the cohort was 3.4 kg. The researchers found that each one-hour increase in nighttime sleep duration between months 1 and 6 was associated with a significant decrease in the odds of overweight from 1 to 6 months in multivariable-adjusted models (odds ratio, 0.74). A significant reduction in the odds of overweight was also seen for each one-unit decrease in the number of waking bouts (odds ratio, 0.84). There was no association seen between changes in wake after sleep onset and odds of overweight.
“Our results showed that increased nighttime sleep duration and decreased nighttime sleep fragmentation were associated with lower odds of overweight from 1 to 6 months,” the authors write. “Once present, obesity is hard to treat, as entrenched behaviors and metabolic forces tend to resist weight loss. Thus, it is important that parents and caregivers begin prevention efforts as early as possible.”
One author disclosed financial ties to Jazz Pharmaceuticals.