THERE’S no getting away from it, having a newborn equals less sleep.
And that sleep deprivation (a form of torture) can leave new parents feeling worse for wear.
But, new findings suggest allowing your new arrival to share your room for any longer than six months can prove bad for their health.
Babies who slept in their parent’s room longer than six months got 45 minutes less sleep a night.
A lack of sleep as a newborn can trigger obesity, poor sleep patterns later in life and temper tantrums, experts at Penn State College of Medicine warned.
Dr Ian Paul, professor of paediatrics, said it is recommended parents keep their babies in cribs in their room up to six months, to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
But he added, beyond the six-month mark babies should be in their own rooms.
He said: “Inadequate infant sleep can lead to obesity, poor sleep later in life and can negatively affect parents.
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“Many paediatricians and sleep experts question the room-sharing recommendation until one year because infants begin to experience separation anxiety in the second half of the first year.
“This makes it problematic to change sleep locations at that stage.
“Waiting too long can have negative effects on sleep quality for both parents and infants in both the short and long term.”
The NHS advises parents keep their new arrivals in a crib or moses basket until six months, to lower the risk of SIDS.
Around 90 per cent of SIDS cases happen in the first six months, Dr Paul said.
To test their theory, Dr Paul’s team examined data collected from 279 mums and their babies.
The mums were quizzed when their little ones were four and nine months old.
Researchers covered topics including sleep duration, location, night waking, night feeds, bedtime routines and sleep behaviours.
Then, at 12 and 30 months, researchers assessed sleep duration, location and patterns.
At four months, babies who slept in their own rooms had on average 45-minute longer stretches of continuous sleep than those who shared with their parents.
At nine months the gap widened.
Inadequate infant sleep can lead to obesity, poor sleep later in life and can negatively affect parents
Dr Ian Paul
Those who could sleep independently by four months slept an hour and 40 minutes longer than those still sleeping in their parent’s room.
Babies in their own rooms also enjoyed more sleep each night.
At the 30-month follow up, babies who shared with their parents up to nine months slept, on average, 45 minutes less per night than babies who slept in their own room from four and nine months.
Dr Paul’s team also found sharing a room proved more dangerous for babies.
At four months babies who shared were more likely to have a blanket or pillow that could increase the risk of SIDS, compared with those in their own rooms.
Dr Paul said: “Perhaps our most troubling finding was that room-sharing was associated with overnight transitions to bed-sharing, which is strongly discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Bed-sharing overnight was more common in our sample among four- and nine-month-olds who began the night on a separate surface in their parents’ room.”
Dr Paul said the study questions the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to room-share for the entire first year.
“Our findings showing poorer sleep-related outcomes and more unsafe sleep practices for babies who room-share beyond early infancy suggest that the American Academy of Pediatrics should reconsider and revise the recommendation pending evidence to support it,” he said.
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