----------------------English version, translated by ChatGpt---------
Scientists studied 9,273 children from the "Étude Longitudinale Française depuis l’Enfance" (ELFE) French Children Longitudinal Study, observing their sleep patterns from age 1 to 5.5 years. They identified five distinct sleep multi-trajectory groups and analyzed the associations between these sleep patterns and early family environment, maternal conditions, and child characteristics.
Five sleep multi-trajectory groups:
Good sleepers: Shorter nighttime sleep but longer daytime sleep.
Long sleepers: Longer sleep durations both at night and during the day.
Good sleepers with occasional sleep-onset difficulties: Longer sleep durations at night and during the day, but with a peak in sleep-onset difficulties at age 3.5.
Improving group with night awakenings and sleep-onset difficulties: Shorter nighttime sleep that gradually increases, with improvements in night awakenings and sleep-onset difficulties.
Persistent night awakenings and sleep-onset difficulties group: Continuing issues with night awakenings and sleep-onset difficulties from age 1 to 5.5.
The study reveals that although initial differences seem substantial, they tend to stabilize around ages 2-3.
Regarding daytime naps, the study shows that by around age 3.5, children generally stop napping during the day. The study also details sleep duration and distribution at different ages: about 10-11 hours of nighttime sleep, with gradually decreasing daytime nap times.
Why do some children have poor sleep? Early environmental influences are significant!
Maternal mood is crucial: If the mother is in a bad mood during pregnancy, it can affect the baby's sleep, especially in children who frequently wake up at night or have difficulty falling asleep.
Feeding habits are key: The sleep problems in babies might not be due to breastfeeding itself, but rather associated with adult habits, such as feeding methods at night.
Pacifiers or thumb sucking: The study found that babies who sucked pacifiers or thumbs at age 1 slept better at night, possibly aiding in easier sleep onset.
Self-soothing ability: At age 1, children who could fall asleep on their own in a room without parents tended to sleep better.
Children who fall asleep and wake up in their own beds and those cared for by a family member during the day also tended to sleep better.
So, what should we do? This study highlights the importance of fostering good sleep habits. Parents need to understand their children's sleep needs and help them establish healthy sleep patterns. For instance, assisting children in learning to soothe themselves, rather than always relying on adults to lull them to sleep.
Additionally, if a mother is in a bad mood during pregnancy, this may need special attention as it could impact the baby's sleep. These are aspects we can pay attention to and improve from a young age, greatly benefiting children's healthy growth.
These research findings can help parents better understand their children's sleep and provide practical advice to create a healthier and happier growth environment for families.
Longitudinal sleep multi-trajectories from age 1 to 5.5 years and their early correlates: results from the Étude Longitudinale Française depuis l’Enfance birth cohort study https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsad236