A study in the April 2016 issue of Pediatrics suggests that how well parents sleep affects how well they think their child sleeps.
For the study, “Poor Parental Sleep and the Reported Sleep Quality of their Children” (published online March 24), researchers in Finland asked parents of 100 children between ages 2 and 6 to keep sleep diaries and to complete sleep disturbance surveys for both their children and themselves. These were compared with readings from actigraphy bracelets that the children wore for seven days and nights.
Researchers found parents who reported more sleeping problems themselves also described more sleeping problems in their children, but these children’s actigraph readings actually showed fewer sleep disturbances than the parents reported. Authors of the study say tired parents may be biased when it comes to estimating their children’s sleep quality, compared to parents who don’t suffer from sleep problems.
The findings highlight the importance of factoring in a parent’s sleep quality when diagnosing, treating and researching sleep disturbances in children, they say.