Baby sleep is the Chinese puzzle box of parenting…with some unique code only beknownst to your bubs…who couldn’t tell you the answer if she tried. But while the universe laughs at your irony, you could try some good ol’ tummy time—or so says one study.
If your baby is fed, changed, and suitably cuddled, but still won’t succumb to sleep, chances are he could need a bit of exercise.
A recent study via Michigan State University revealed that babies with lower levels of daily activity could be clocking less hours of sleep per night. The sleep and physical activity of
22 healthy six-month-old infants were analysed, with the results showing significantly less active babies to be sleeping for shorter spans.
Researchers suggest tummy time as one way to improve night-time for baby (and Mum!). Tummy time is a dedicated period of time each day where babies are placed on their fronts to help muscular and motor skill development.
“While we don’t have evidence yet that tummy time directly affects sleep, it increases physical activity and promotes healthy weight gain,” explains Janet Hauck, assistant professor of kinesiology at MSU, who specialises in infant motor intervention research. “So, parents who feel their baby isn’t sleeping enough could promote tummy time during the day to boost their baby’s physical activity level.”
Hauck emphasises that physical activity and sleep are happy bedmates in later childhood and adulthood, too; so it makes sense that the connection would emerge in infancy.
Of course, tummy time isn’t the only way to get your little one moving; there’s plenty games to play with your baby as he grows. The main thing is that you supervise at all times, gradually build up to longer intervals of exercise, and keep the experience positive, by smiling and rewarding with copious cuddles.