SEOUL, Feb.19 (Korea Bizwire) – While Korea is known for a sleep-deprived adolescent and adult population, research shows that even Korean infants are not sleeping very well.
Professor Ahn Young-min at Eulji Hospital’s Pediatrics Department conducted a joint research project with a team at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. The researchers compared the sleeping hours of 30,000 people from 17 different countries, including 1,036 infants. The results of the study were published in the February issue of the Journal of Korean Medical Science (JKMS).
The targets of the research were infants under the age of 36 months. The researchers divided the infants into three groups, Asian countries (Japan, China, Hong Kong and India), western countries (Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the U.K.), and Korea, and compared data about sleep duration.
Results showed that Korean infants slept an average of 11 hours and 53 minutes per day (sum of daytime and nighttime sleep). This was less than the 12 hours and 19 minutes in Asian countries and the 13 hours and 1 minute in western countries.
The recommended number of hours of sleep suggested by the U.S. National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is 14 to 17 hours for newborns (zero to three months), 12 to 15 hours for infants (four to 11 months), 11 to 14 hours for children aged one or two, and 10 to 13 hours for children aged three to five.
Korean infants also took shorter naps. Korean infants tended to nap for an average of 2 hours and 26 minutes. However, infants in both Asian countries (3 hours) and western countries (3 hours and 9 minutes) napped more than three hours a day. Also, the number of naps taken by Korean infants (1.64 per day) was less than Asian countries (2.04) and western countries (2.08).
Korean infants went to bed at around 10:08 at night. However, Asian infants (9:25 p.m.) and western infants (8:25 p.m.) went to bed much earlier.
Korean infants tended to wake up 1.49 times during the night, which was more frequent compared to 1.13 for western infants. The research team suggested that Korean infants woke up more frequently because Korean parents tend to feed them to help put them to sleep.
Various factors such as watching TV late at night, sleeping with their parents, and going to bed later contributed to less sleep for Korean infants.
Professor Ahn commented that even though 47 percent of Korean parents think that their children have unhealthy sleeping habits, only 2.3 percent consider it critical. He stated that there is a need for additional research to examine the correlation between the sleep habits of students and adults, and the sleep habits of infants.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)