Sarah E. Berger, Monica R. Ordway, Emiel Schoneveld, Maristella Lucchini, Shambhavi Thakur, Thomas Anders, Liza Natale, Natalie Barnett
The U.S. Global Change Research Program reports that the frequency and intensity of extreme heat are increasing globally. Studies of the impact of climate change on child health often exclude sleep, despite its importance for healthy growth and development. To address this gap in the literature, we studied the impact of unusually high temperatures in the summer of 2022 on infants’ sleep. Sleep was assessed objectively using Nanit camera monitors in infants’ homes. Generally, sleep was not impacted when temperatures stayed below 88° but was negatively impacted when temperatures reached over 100°. Compared to non-heatwave nights, infants had less total sleep, less efficient sleep, took longer to fall asleep, had more fragmented sleep, and parents’ visits were more frequent during the night. Following peaks in temperature, sleep metrics rebounded to better than average compared to non-peak nights, suggesting that infants compensated for disrupted sleep by sleeping more and with fewer interruptions once the temperature dropped below 85°. Increased instances of disrupted sleep in infancy have important implications for psychological health and development. Climate disruptions such as heat waves that create occasional or ongoing sleep disruptions can leave infants vulnerable and unprepared for learning.
About the Researchers
The researchers included Sarah E. Berger, Monica R. Ordway, Emiel Schoneveld, Maristella Lucchini, Shambhavi Thakur, Thomas Anders, Liza Natale, and Natalie Barnett.
Dr. Sarah Berger is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She received her PhD from New York University. Dr. Berger was an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a Fulbright Research Scholar. Dr. Berger studies the interaction between cognitive and motor development in infancy, particularly response inhibition and its implications for the allocation of attention in very young children. A line of National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded work, in collaboration with Dr. Anat Scher, has been the first to study the impact of sleep on motor problem solving in infancy.
Dr. Monica Ordway’s NIH-funded program of research is focused on the understanding of the biosocial relationships that determine health and development in early childhood. Her expertise in community-based participatory research, innovative and non-invasive biomarkers of stress, and objective sleep measurement has helped to generate new knowledge about the role of the multidimensional constructs of sleep health in mitigating the risk of toxic stress among infants and toddlers who experience adversity. Prior to completing her PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University, she worked as a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner for 10 years in a large urban practice. She continues to work as a nurse practitioner at the Yale Pediatric Sleep Clinic.
Dr. Maristella Lucchini serves as Senior Clinical Researcher at Nanit. In her role, Maristella works to secure grant funding in collaboration with Nanit’s university research partners and supports the development of the company’s research collaborations around the world. Previously, Maristella served as an Assistant Research Scientist in the Division of Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center where she led projects across several cohorts focusing on sleep health for pregnant and postpartum women and their children. Maristella’s research focused on underserved communities and sleep health disparities in the perinatal period. During her years as a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry, Maristella was selected to participate in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Young Investigator Research Forum. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.
Shambhavi Thakur serves as Clinical Research Data Analyst at Nanit. She holds a Masters degree in Health Informatics and Life Sciences. She oversees the research collaborations with various universities and analyzes sleep data for internal as well as external studies.
Dr. Tom Anders graduated from Stanford University (1956) and Stanford University School of Medicine (1960). He completed psychiatry and psychoanalytic training at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, NY. A two-year post-doctoral research fellowship preceded his appointment as Director of the Division of Child Psychiatry at SUNY/Buffalo. He also has headed Divisions of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Stanford (1974-1984) and Brown University (1985-1992). At UC Davis, he served as Department of Psychiatry Chair (1992-1998) and then as Executive Associate Dean (1998-2002). His long standing clinical and research interests are in the areas of maturation of infant sleep-wake states and pediatric sleep disorders in children with ASD. He has been an NIH funded investigator and served as President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2005-2007).
Dr. Liza Natale is an NYC based general pediatrician who has cared for infants, children and adolescents for over 17 years. In addition to her general pediatric practice, Dr Natale teaches classes at the 92nd Street Y (one of her favorites, Caring For Your Newborn Grandchild is a class for expectant grandparents) and serves as the medical consultant for The Acorn School, an independent nursery school in Manhattan. Dr Natale was one of the first pediatricians in New York to routinely screen parents for postpartum depression. This screening has since become recommended as routine by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Dr. Natalie Barnett serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.
This paper was published in Scientific Reports. Access the full article here.