London: Mother’s sleeping behaviour has a strong influence on the child. Researchers have found that children are more likely to sleep poorly if their mothers suffer from insomnia symptoms.
Sleep plays an essential role for adults’ and children’s well-being. Short sleep and poor sleep quality may affect mental health, learning, memory, and school achievement in children.
The findings, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, are based on a study with nearly 200 school-aged children and their parents.
The study was led by Natalie Urfer-Maurer from the University of Basel in Switzerland and Sakari Lemola from University of Warwick in Britain.
Sleep was assessed in healthy 7-12-years old children during night by in-home electroencephalography (EEG).
Around half of the children were born preterm. In addition, parents reported their own insomnia symptoms and their children’s sleep problems.
The study showed that children of mothers with insomnia symptoms fall asleep later, get less sleep, and spend less time in deep sleep as measured by EEG.
However, there was no association with the fathers’ sleep problems.
Several mechanisms could account for the relationship between parents’ and children’s sleep, report the researchers.
Children may learn sleep habits from their parents, and they may also share genes with their parents that predispose for poor sleep.
Moreover, poor family functioning could affect both parents’ and children’s sleep.