Stressed Out Parents More Likely To Report Sleeping Problems In Children

Parents who are habitually stressed out have low sleep quality and are easily disturbed at night. They are also more likely to claim their kids have sleeping problems, even if that's actually not the case.

Scientists at the University Hospital of Turku in Finland did a study on how accurately parents reported their child's sleep quality. The research consisted of 100 children between ages 2 and 6 as well as their parents, as per The Globe And Mail.

For one week, parents were to fill out sleep diaries for both them and their kids. To see how well the reports matched the children's actual sleep quality, scientists requested parents to place an actigraph on their child's wrist, hip and ankle before they go to bed.

Even though 8 percent of the parents missed at least one night of putting the actigraphs on, the study still produced a conclusive finding. When the actigraphs said children were sleeping soundly, parents who admitted having trouble sleeping would report sleep disturbance in their kids.

"Parents who are stressed out and have poor sleeping quality are more disturbed themselves by little noises and awakenings of their children during the night than those parents who sleep better," said Dr. Helena Lapinleimu. She added that the conclusion remained the same even after considerations were made to the child's age, gender and medical history.

While the study showed an inconsistency between the parents' reports and their child's actual sleep quality, Web MD advised parents to treat their sleeping problems immediately as kids have a tendency to acquire their parent's emotional cues.

Previous studies discovered two key reasons why poor sleep quality in parents is linked to overreporting of sleep problems in children. Dr. Jocelyn Thomas of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said parents who are habitually stressed are more likely to recall negative life events. They are also more likely to focus on their sleep and the sleep of those around them.

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