Parents now have a reason to get their baby to sleep every night more than ever before. That’s because there’s a new study that suggests that a baby’s sleep quality might affect their language skills and development, especially later in life. A new study published by Sleep Medicine says that a child might have difficulty learning communication skills if they experienced short of interrupted sleep patterns while they were still babies.
According to University of Alberta associate professor Dr. Piush Mandhane, the more babies sleep, the better communicators they become as adults. He and his team of researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of hundreds of babies during their study. They found that 17 percent of babies slept less than 12 hours in a 24-hour period. As a result, those babies legged behind in learning once by the time they reached their second birthday.
According to GlobalNews, Dr. Mandhane puts it this way, “We found that the children who were short nighttime sleepers — so really didn’t have the time to consolidate their daytime learning and activities they were doing — they had a 10 point decrease in both cognitive outcomes and language outcomes.”
In addition, babies who had disrupted sleep because of issues such as snoring or sleep apnea also had lower language skills, although there was no different in their cognitive skills. Dr. Mandhane hopes that his study will encourage parents to put their babies to bed at the same time every night to establish a good sleep pattern or consult their child’s pediatricians for any sleep concerns they may have.
He adds, “There’s very few things you can intervene on to improve your children’s learning growth and development and this is one of them you can intervene on and it’s worth working on.”
Keep in mind that many parents unwittingly encourage bad sleep habits that can continue for years. Do not encourage your baby or toddler to stay up late or sleep in until the late morning hours. In order to help your baby to settle before his or her nightly routine, there are a few things that parents can do. They can make daytime feeds more social and lively, while making nighttime feelings more quiet and calm. You can also start with a bath and then put your baby in his or her pajamas and set a short and simple bedtime routine by the time your baby is three months old.