Does preterm period sleep development predict early childhood growth trajectories?

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The current study examined the relationship between sleep state development across the preterm and early post-term periods and subsequent growth trajectories from 1 to 27 months corrected age.

Study design:

Retrospective analysis of data collected prospectively from 111 preterm infants (34 weeks gestation) who participated in a multi-site longitudinal study. Separate longitudinal parallel process models were calculated for each sleep state (active and quiet sleep) and growth (weight, length and body mass index (BMI) Z-scores) variable to estimate the associations between their developmental trajectories.


Significant associations were identified between the trajectories of quiet sleep and weight, active sleep and weight, quiet sleep and BMI, and active sleep and BMI. No statistically meaningful associations were identified between the trajectories of early childhood length and the preterm sleep states.


Faster preterm period sleep development appears to predict more favorable early childhood growth trajectories, particularly for weight, indicating preterm sleep may be an important biomarker for subsequent growth outcomes.

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This work was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health (grant numbers F31NR014960, NR01894).

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Correspondence to M R Winkler.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on the Journal of Perinatology website

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