Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Depressed Mothers Wake Babies Up More

Project Siesta Study On Infant
Sleep at Penn State University
A recent study at Pennsylvania State University project Siesta looked at the sleeping patterns of depressed mothers and infants.  The study performed by Dr. Douglas Teti along with many other researchers, collected data on 45 infants and their mothers ranging from one month of age to 24 months.  The study was performed for seven days that included a sleep diary kept by the mother and web cams to monitor entry into the baby's room and areas the mother might take the infant at night.

There were several findings in this research, but what they found was that depressed mothers tend to go in and wake their babies up at night, even if they are sleeping.  It appears that the mother may need comforting and the close connection of the baby, to help calm her anxiety and depression.  Mothers who were depressed, tended to worry about their infants at night.  When the mothers sought out their babies at night, the baby was in no need of parental help.

The researchers feel that if an infant is not experiencing any stress, that by disrupting the sleep of the baby, it could have a negative consequence on the parent-child relationship.  Sleep problems in infants can result in attention deficits, conduct problems, day time sleepiness and academic underachievement.  These problems in the first year of an infant's life, can affect them for many years to come. 

This study proves what many know to be true, but we often forget how our emotional state affects those around us.  Children really pick up what is going on in their parent's life, no matter how much the parent tries to hide it.  Our body picks up much more than we give it credit or that we recognize.  Children have not added all the filters to life like adults have.

Of course, everyone can get all worried about what they are doing right or wrong and most likely cause more difficulty for the child.  Instead, if the parent works on taking care of their own life, healing the wounds of their past, and learning how to relax, our children will most likely be more adjusted in life.

It is sad when I see children so out of control and getting into trouble, while society just begins to label and medicate these kids to stop the behavior.  It is like we as a society are putting a band-aid on the behavior, rather than looking at the root cause of the situation.  Often times, the child is just begging for attention and love or reacting to what they pick up in their parent and family units.  Again, if we work at healing our wounds and taking care of our lives, than the child will be able to find more balance in their own life.

For me, when I was growing up, my house and family was anything but turmoil.  I had no idea what a peaceful world was and because of how we were handled in my family, I did not even think about acting up.  My other siblings did not make that same choice.  These early experiences have affected me throughout my life and been moments that I had to go in an retrain myself that life could be different than what I had known.

It is important to heal our wounds and recognize our past for what it is.  I doubt there is anyone out there that has had a normal and perfect life, but what we learn from it and how we evolve is the most important part.  It is never too late to begin reclaiming our life.  Our children or the people around us, may be greatly impacted as we do.

To read more about the Siesta study at Penn State, click this link.

 Blog Post And Images (c) 4/17/12 Don Shetterly - use and reprint by permission only http://www.donshetterly.com You are welcomed to share the link to this blog post, but ask for for permission before reprinting this article. Thanks!

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