Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that infants who sleep an average of less than 12 hours per day may be at an increased risk of being overweight in early childhood. They advised young mothers to pay better attention to the amount of sleep their newborn babies are getting.

They followed the sleep patterns of 915 children aged 6 months, 1 year and 2 years, by using questionnaires and in-person interviews. They also kept a record of the infants’ length and weight and had parents report on the number of hours their children watched television or videos.

The study results showed that the babies who slept for less than 12 hours a day were twice as likely to be overweight compared with children who slept more while those who slept less than 12 hours per day and watched 2 hours or more of TV per day were 6 times more likely to be overweight.

The fact that over one third of children aged under four have a TV in their bedroom get researchers realize and warn the parents that a quarter of youngsters will be clinically obese by 2050 unless action is taken to change the current trends in the way children spend their time.
It seems as if sleep deprivation has more hazardous effects on health than previously thought and that these hazardous effects apply even to young infants.

Proper sleep hygiene techniques should be introduced to children and TV, internet and video games removed from children’s bedrooms in order to improve sleep duration and sleep quality.