If there’s one thing that everyone knows about newborn babies, it’s that they don’t sleep through the night, and neither do their parents.
But in fact, those first six months of life are crucial to developing the regular sleeping and waking patterns, known as circadian rhythms, that a child will need for a healthy future.
Some children may start life with the sleep odds stacked against them, though, say University of Michigan sleep experts who study the issue.
Babies whose mothers experienced depression any time before they became pregnant, or developed mood problems while they were pregnant, are much more prone to having chaotic sleep patterns in the first half-year of life than babies born to non-depressed moms, the team has found.
For instance, infants born to depressed moms nap more during the day, take much longer to settle down to sleep at night, and wake up more often during the night. It’s a baby form of the insomnia that millions of adults know all too well.
Not only does this add to parents’ sleepless nights, but it may help set these children up for their own depression later in life.
But this doesn’t mean that babies born to depressed moms are doomed to follow in their mothers’ shoes, even though depression does tend to run in families, says Roseanne Armitage, Ph.D., the leader of the U-M Sleep & Chronophysiology Laboratory team at the U-M Depression Center.
Read more at News Medical