Crawling babies means less sleep for parents: study

03 January 2013 - 11:36 By Relaxnews

For parents of babies who have started to crawl, a new yet-to-be-published study finds what you may already know: expect a lot less sleep.

Researchers from the University of Haifa in Israel found that infants who have started crawling wake up more often at night than they did before they started crawling.

Dr. Dina Cohen and her team enlisted 28 healthy babies who were developing normally and examined them once every two to three weeks. Babies were monitored from age four to five months through 11 months.

To track the babies' sleep patterns, the researchers used a sleep sensor device called an ActiGraph, in addition to parental reports from diaries and questionnaires. Cohen's team also videotaped each baby's crawling development and progress.

Since most babies begin crawling around seven months, this was also the time when babies began waking up an average of 1.55 to 1.98 times per night. Upon waking each baby stayed awake for around 10 minutes.

But good news for sleepy parents: within three months from the day crawling begins, infants generally return to their sleep patterns in their pre-crawling days.

"It is possible that crawling, which involves a vast range of changes and psychological reorganization in the babies' development, increases their level of arousal, influences their ability to regulate themselves and causes a period of temporary instability that expresses itself in waking up more frequently," Cohen says.

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