Cycled Lighting Improves Neonates' Behavior, Outcomes

(HealthDay News) – 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.

Caroline Guyer, MD, from University Children's Hospital Zurich, and colleagues randomly assigned 37 very preterm infants to either CL (7 am–7 pm lights on; 7 pm–7 am 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."

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