Unless you’re #blessed with one of those rare bubs that sleeps through the night from birth, it’s likely that you’ve spent a fair amount of time stressing over your child’s shut eye habits.
And new research has found that this common concern has some significant health impacts for parents.
A study out of the University of British Columbia found a correlation between mum and dad’s thoughts about their infant's sleep and parental depression.
They examined 253 families with babies who were having trouble sleeping and had no prior diagnosis of clinical depression. Half of the participants received sleep intervention for their child and support from public health nurses, while the other half of the group only received basic information packages. The parents’ depression scores were rated at the start and six and 24 weeks later.
Sleep expert, nursing professor and co-author of the study, Wendy Hall, told UBC news, “Parents who worried that they could not manage their children’s sleep were more likely to have higher levels of depression. That was true for both mothers and fathers.”
“The situation improved after the intervention, notably by the 24-week mark,” she added.
“Once the infant sleep problem was treated, parental depression lifted significantly. There was a reduction of almost 30 per cent of mothers and 20 per cent of fathers reporting high depression scores.”
The study has highlighted how important it is for parents to get professional health if their children’s sleeping problems have become overwhelming.