Parents are usually fully aware that their new baby will disrupt their sleep for around three to four months, but researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel, have found that crawling triggers another episode of sleeplessness that can continue for a further three months.
The researchers studied the sleeping patterns of 28 normally developing babies from four months until 11 months. The monitoring device, Actigraph, was used to gather objective information, videos were used to track the babies crawling activity and parents were asked to fill out questionnaires.
The study found that before babies started crawling they woke around 1.55 times each night but once they began crawling, that figure rose to 1.98.
Researcher Dr Dina Cohen explained: “It may be that crawling, which is connected to many changes involved in development and renewed psychological organization, raises the level of wakefulness and causes a period of instability that presents itself as waking up from sleep.”
Dr Cohen added that crawling physically separates a child from its mother and introduces the child to unfamiliar surrounding that may cause the child to feel uneasy. She said: “This anxiety can be expressed in irregular sleep patterns at night.”
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