Friday, October 16, 2015
Moody tantrums, misbehaviour, being restless, even inattentiveness are some of the qualities best suiting a toddler. However, could there be a cause of concern when a toddler displays these typical behaviours? Researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) in their new study found that sleep irregularities could be reason for such behaviours which could be indicative of developmental delays in the future.
The researchers used a wristwatch-like device to objectively determine sleep patterns among 87 one year old infants. The infants revisited for follow up tests at the age of 3 to 4 years. In the latter visit, the researchers used a computerised attention test, the Spatial-Stroop task, to assess attentional executive control. They also took the parents’ account of behavioural traits in their toddlers.
The results showed significant predictive and concomitant associations between infant sleep and toddler attention regulation and behavioural aspects. The study found that sleep markers such as sleep percentage and number of night wakings were associated with behavioural problems at 3 years of age.
Talking about the study, the researchers said, “We don't know what the underlying causes are for the lower sleep quality and later behaviour regulation problems in these children. There may be genetic or environmental causes adversely affecting both the children's sleep and their development in other domains. Our findings, however, support the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of sleep problems in infants and young children. Early interventions for infant sleep problems, very effective in improving sleep quality, could potentially improve later attention and behaviour regulation."
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