London - Most mothers would love to know how to make their children sleep properly. The key, it appears, is to get a good night’s sleep herself.
Youngsters between seven and 12 whose moms have insomnia fall asleep later, get fewer hours’ sleep and spend less time in deep sleep, based on a study of nearly 200 families.
The reason may be that mothers worried about their own sleep deprivation are more anxious about their children’s bedtimes. On the other hand, sleeplessness may simply be genetic.
Lead author Dr Sakari Lemola, from the University of Warwick, said: “The findings show that children’s sleep has to be considered in the family context. In particular, the mother’s sleep appears to be important for how well school-aged children sleep.”
But the phenomenon does not appear to apply to fathers, whose sleep patterns do not get passed on to their offspring.
The study, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, suggested this is because, on average, mothers still spend more time with their children.