Exercises that infants need to sleep well in the night
Parents with newborns struggle with sleepless nights.
The effects are usually more profound in those having babies for the first time, as they may be inexperienced or unprepared to deal with the demands of the infant.
“I was so excited when I found out that I was pregnant. And though I am happy to have a child now, the sleepless nights are killing me,” said Jane Mumbi, a mother of a four-month old boy.
“The baby seems to never want to sleep. He will be awake until past two in the night, crying and wanting us to just hold him even when he’s dry and well fed. Sometimes I feel like he’s suffering from insomnia!”
To alleviate such inconveniences, health experts urge parents to promote infant physical activity or exercises that will enhance their chances of sleeping well at night.
A new study published in the Infant Behaviour and Development Journal found that physical activity has a strong influence on the sleeping patterns of children.
The research, which is among the first to focus on the connection between common health behaviours in babies, suggests that babies who are less active get less sleep.
Scientists from the US-based Michigan State University who conducted the study noted that the discovery is something new parents may want to consider when looking for possible solutions for the long, sleepless nights endured after children are born.
We know physical activity and sleep influence each other and are strongly associated with growth in older children and adults.
“But these new findings suggest that this association could emerge as early as infancy, which is a critical developmental period,” said Janet Hauck, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of kinesiology, who specialises in infant motor intervention research.
The study analysed 22 healthy six-month-old infants and monitored their physical activity level and sleep more than 24 hours. Their weight and length were also measured.