Babies who sleep poorly are far more likely to experience sleep problems as toddlers, US researchers have discovered.

Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, Ohio, found that one in 10 children under the age of three suffers with a sleep problem.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at the experiences of more than 250 mothers, and their children's sleeping behaviour at six, 12, 24 and 36 months. They found that if children started with no sleeping problems, they were unlikely to develop any as they got older.

However, 21 to 35 out of every 100 children who had issues sleeping continued to experience problems as they aged. The most frequent problems were falling and staying asleep in under twos, and nightmares and restlessness in the under threes.

Lead researcher Kelly Byars said the research could go some way to dispelling the myth that children grow out of sleeping problems. "Oftentimes the message is, 'Don't worry about Susie, this is typical and it will get better'," she said.

Posted by Robert Mair on 9/1/2012