New Research Suggests Sleep Arousal And Body Temperature May Be Connected To SIDS

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS, is the tragic occurrence when a baby under the age of one suddenly dies in their sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SIDS is one of the top five causes of death in American babies.

Experts aren’t totally sure what causes this, but new research suggests it could be connected to body temperature and sleep arousal.

That research —  which was conducted using zebrafish and computer simulations of brain activity — posits that SIDS could be linked to “neuronal noise,” which basically amounts to random fluctuations of electricity in the neural network of your brain. Neuronal noise is constant when a person is asleep or awake.

This study connects the intensity of neuronal noise to body temperature and sleep arousals, or the period when someone “transitions from deep sleep to a mixture of very light sleep and/or partial wakefulness.” It suggests that higher body temperature may be associated with reduce neuronal noise, which can decrease the likelihood that an infant will wake up even if they’re having trouble breathing.

[Editor’s Note: The content provided on this site is for general informational purposes only. Any information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. We encourage you to consult with the appropriate health expert if you have concerns.]

 

 

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What The Study Found

“According to the study, if body temperature rises, neuronal noise is reduced, and arousals also decrease,” a Haaretz article explains. “The researchers suggest that decreased neuronal noise in infants prevents them from overcoming breathing difficulties during sleep.”

Researcher Dr. Hila Dvir explains it like this in a ScienceDaily article: “We think that SIDS can occur when as a result of higher temperature, neuronal noise levels and the associated probability for arousals are low. In contrast, when the temperature is lower, an infant has a higher neuronal noise level that yields more arousals during which the infant can change his position to help himself breathe more freely or move a blanket that may be covering his face.”

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Since this study was conducted on fish and not humans, it’s not totally clear whether the conclusions accurately apply to human infants. That said, it certainly opens the door for further research into the phenomenon.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some guidelines for parents looking to create a safe sleeping environment for children under one year of age, which they think will help reduce the likelihood of SIDS. Among other recommendations, babies should be put to sleep on their backs, on a firm surface, away from soft objects and loose bedding, and in a room that is not too hot. Read the full guidelines here.

[Editor’s Note: The content provided on this site is for general informational purposes only. Any information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice. We encourage you to consult with the appropriate health expert if you have concerns.]

Featured image: ucchie79/Shutterstock

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Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.

He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.

Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.