New link found to decrease infant sleep quality

Parents of infants may think they are soothing their child by allowing bed-sharing during infancy but there is new evidence it may harm your child in the long run. A study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics shows a link between bed-sharing and shorter sleep times and increased nighttime waking. This interesting study showed bed-sharing may dramatically impact a child as they grow up and learn to sleep in their own bed. After assessing child sleep at the age of 6 months and also 18 months, it was found that nocturnal waking could be predicted in children raised with bed-sharing.

The research was conducted in various institutions including Uni Research, the National Institute of Public Health, and the University of California in Berkeley. Dr. Mari Hysing, a researcher that worked on the study says, “The more the parents are involved when [the children] fall asleep, just by their presence or by singing or sitting next to them, the more the child is likely to be dependent on the parent for falling asleep.” While parents are doing what seems to be best for the child at that point in time, the effects on lifelong sleep quality can be detrimental. It is worth noting that researched studied 55,831 mothers from the years of 1999 to 2008.

Although this research reveals an impact on bed-sharing, it is important to remember this does not mean bed-sharing is bad all around. There are many factors which influence infant sleep and all should be considered. One solution which may help both the child and the parent is room-sharing. The infant will fall asleep without fussing for the entire night but the child will not be negatively impacted later in life when sleeping on their own.

Dr. Hysing summed it up by saying, “This is very personal for people, how they decide to sleep. People make their own decisions, and we’re just trying to take some pieces of the puzzle to understand how their choices make an impact. Then I think it’s up to the parents to decide.” Learn more about the impact of your sleep habits on your child’s future quality of sleep by scheduling an appointment with the doctors at FusionSleep. Get an assessment and advice from our team of professionals so you can live a better waking and sleeping life.