(HealthDay) -- Cycled lighting (CL) during neonatal care reduces an infant's fussing and crying behavior at 5 and 11 weeks' corrected age and correlates with a trend toward higher motor activity during daytime and improved weight gain, compared with dim lighting (DL) conditions, according to a study published online June 11 in Pediatrics.
Caroline Guyer, M.D., from University Children's Hospital Zurich, and colleagues randomly assigned 37 very preterm infants to either CL (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. lights on; 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. lights off; 17 infants) or DL (lights off whenever the child is asleep; 20 infants). Parental diaries and actigraphy at 5 and 11 weeks' corrected age were used to assess sleeping, crying, and activity behavior.
The researchers found a significant reduction in fussing and crying in CL-exposed infants. There was a trend toward higher motor activity during daytime in CL-exposed infants at 5 and 11 weeks' corrected age compared with DL-exposed infants. There was no significant difference in sleep behavior at 5 or 11 weeks' corrected age between the groups. Compared with DL-exposed infants, those in CL conditions showed a trend toward improved daily weight gain during neonatal care.
"CL conditions in neonatal care have beneficial effects on [an] infant's fussing and crying behavior and growth in the first weeks of life," the authors write. "This study supports the introduction of CL care in clinical neonatal practice."
Explore further: Research shows efficacy of treatment model developed at Women & Infants
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)