Have you ever tied together your relationship troubles and the amount of sleep that your baby is receiving? Are problems with your partner causing you to toss and turn all night? Unfortunately, troubles in your relationship could be getting in the way of your baby's good night sleep. According to a study that found 18-month old children were more likely to experience sleep disturbances when parents' relationships are rocky.
So how do we determine this connection? Scientists think that changes in the brain systems involved in how children develop and regulate their sleep patterns reflect the impact of family stress. So this theory was tested, researchers followed more than 3250 families starting when their babies were 9 months ago and continuing over a nine-month period. The researchers chose to study adoptive families to narrow out the possibility that any connections between parents' behavior and children's sleep were due to shared genes.
Therefore, parents were asked individually whether they would consider seeing an attorney and, more generally,' has the thought of separating or getting a divorced ever crossed their minds?" The higher a couple recorded on martial instability measures, the greater the likelihood of them reporting their children had sleep problems-falling asleep, staying asleep, or frequent night -at 18 months, reports Time Magazine. Studies were true even after taking into consideration such factors as children's difficult temperaments, parents' anxiety levels, and birth order.
"Our findings suggest that the effects of martial instability on children's sleep problems emerge earlier in development than has been demonstrated previously," says lead researcher Anne M. Mannering. "Parents should be aware that martial stress may affect the well-being of their children even in the first year or two of life."
Now let's focus on your baby. Amusingly, researchers did not find the reverse to be true: children's sleep problems did not appear to reflect problems in their problem's relationships. Granted dealing with sleep deprivation can certainly cause stress and exhaustion, and it is not unreasonable to expect martial unhappiness to result, researchers recognized no such connection. To figure that out, they flip-flopped the study and looked at infant sleep problems at 9 months and following reports of martial instability at 18 months.
In this particular study, at least, kids appear to be off the hook when it comes to rocking the martial boat, Time magazine points out. "It kind of surprised us a little bit too," says Mannering. Just a little tip from me to you. If you and your partner are experiencing relationship issues, don't hesitate to reach out for help. While lack of sleep might not be the basis of your problems, the emotional and financial stress of becoming new parents could be, at least, contributing to your trouble.