At the risk of pissing off a whole lot of sleep deprived Aussie parents who may or may not be reading this at 2:56am, science reckons there’s an upside to having a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night.
That’s right. The dark circles etched under your eyes and complete loss of sanity might not be for nothing.
Research from a UK university has established what it believes to be a direct link between a baby’s inability to sleep through the night and their intelligence.
In other words, non-sleeping babies are potentially smarter than ones who sleep like tiny angels.
Professor Peter Fleming from the University of Bristol is the person to direct any rage at – in an interview with Buzzfeed, the professor of infant health said not sleeping through the night and intelligence are correlated.
Side note – here’s how new parents Sam and Snez get their baby Willow to sleep. Post continues after video.
“There’s a link between very high levels of developmental and intellectual achievement and not sleeping throughout the night,” he told the publication in 2015.
“Human infants are not designed to sleep for long periods, it’s not good for them, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there is any benefit to anybody from having a child that sleeps longer and consistently.
“That’s not perhaps what most parents would like to hear.”
Your baby’s ability to keep you up at night because they’re really smart also makes sense in the context of Fleming’s other research observations about why babies sleep during the day.
“Typically, babies love sleeping during the day, and 6pm to midnight is the time they’re going to want to be awake the most,” he said.
“Actually, biologically that’s a big advantage because they will have more attention from their two primary caregivers at that time of day than at any other, because there are fewer distractions. From a biological point of view what the baby is doing is completely normal and sensible. It just doesn’t fit in with our 21st-century expectations.”
Aside from the research, not being able to sleep is a common trait recognised in gifted children.
For parents of babies that cry literally all bloody night, knowing it’s because their child might grow up to be a genius might provide some comfort when you’re at work doing your job after half an hours’ sleep.
Or it might not.