You know those ‘sleep expert’ books taking up space on your shelf? You probably bought them online at 2am in a state of sleep-deprived desperation?
Well they’re useless. At least that’s what the findings from a new study would have us believe.
Published in the June issue of Paediatrics, the study says that a baby’s genetic makeup has far more of an impact on their sleep habits than any other factors like sleep training, co sleeping or feeding.
The study used a sample group of 995 sets of twins aged 6, 18, 30 and 48 months to determine what, if any, factors influenced when a baby started sleeping through the night.
Interestingly what they found was that in 47 per cent of 6 month olds, 58 per cent of 30 month olds and 54 per cent of 48 month olds, genetics were largely to blame (or thank) for how well a baby slept.
Researchers say that what this means in the real life parenting world is that if you happen to have a baby who wakes frequently at night (yep-over here), it’s probably due mostly to it’s genetic predisposition, rather than anything you’re doing.
It also suggests that parents of babies who have ‘failed’ sleep training methods like control crying do so because the babies are just genetically programmed too wake frequently at night and therefore no method that you enforce will alter what their bodies tell them to do.
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Daytime sleeps, as opposed to night, were found to be more strongly influenced by environmental factors than genetics in younger babies with the study not surprisingly finding that babies dozed better in spaces which were quiet and dark. However, after the age of 18 months, environmental factors flipped to becomes more important than genetic predisposition during the nighttime. These findings have prompted the researchers to suggest that the age of 18 months could be relevant for parents wanting to make changes to their child’s night time waking habits.