A new study reveals babies’ sleep patterns are influenced by the state of their parents’ marriage. Babies whose parents were having marriage difficulties in their first year of life were more likely to experience trouble sleeping than those babies whose parents had a healthy, happy marriage.
The study evaluated more than 350 families. All the babies in the study were adopted in order to rule out any characteristics inherited from the parents. The babies were evaluated at 9 months and again at 18 months. The babies who were in homes with unstable marriages at 9 months of age were more likely to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep when they reached 18 months.
Researchers began the study in an effort to determine the impact of marital problems and divorce on children under the age of two. Researcher Anne Mannering points out marital strife that continues throughout a toddler’s life can lead to behavioral problems and trouble in school. Researchers say they will continue to study the effects marital problems have on children over the age of two. The parent-child relationship will also be explored to determine if it has any effect on a child’s sleeping patterns as well.
The study has been published in Child Development.