Eleven percent admitted pretending to be asleep when their child woke up so their partner would have to deal with them.

London - Parents should resist the urge to rush to the cotside when their baby cries at night, say experts.

Instead, they say children should be left to soothe themselves back to sleep.

Researchers asked more than 1,200 parents about their children’s sleeping habits and found that by the age of six months there were two distinct groups.

While two-thirds slept through the night, a third woke up at least once a night.

The majority who failed to sleep through were boys, more likely to be breastfed and had mothers who were more likely to be depressed and have greater maternal sensitivity.

According to the study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, babies move through a sleep cycle every one-and-a-half to two hours, where they briefly wake before nodding off again.

Professor Marsha Weinraub, from Temple University, Philadelphia, who led the study, said: “When mothers tune in to these night time awakenings …then he or she may not be learning how to self-soothe, something that is critical for regular sleep.”

She said the research supported the idea infants should be put to bed at a regular time and are best left to fall back to sleep of their own accord. - Daily Mail