Worrying about babies who don’t get much sleep at night may not be necessary, according to infant development experts. Smarter babies can’t sleep without interruption, and it isn’t something to fuss over.
Actually, parents should be happy their little ones aren’t sleeping like they’re on cloud nine all night. This has been reported to mean that the babies will grow to display a high level of intelligence.
It would be important to note that this is more of a correlational finding. There’s no need to feel bad if your baby sleeps fine all through the night. That doesn’t mean he or she won’t be Einstein-level intelligent in the future.
This research only displays a positive correlation between lack of sleep and intelligence. Regular-sleeping kids could even turn out to be more intelligent than the fussy sleepers.
What exactly causes this phenomenon in gifted babies?
Most smart kids, when asked why they can’t seem to fall asleep easily would say, “It’s not easy to shut my brain off and stop thinking.” Adults also experience this problem, although it’s easier to attribute theirs to the weight of responsibilities. The children are still getting to know life and its intricacies, so they think deeply about everything.
In a chat with Buzzfeed News, Professor Peter Fleming from the University of Bristol says it’s a modern-day trend for parents to expect babies to sleep without interruption. The Infant Health and Development specialist says, “Human infants are not designed to sleep for long periods, it’s not good for them, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there is any benefit to anybody from having a child that sleeps longer and consistently. That’s perhaps not what most parent would like to hear.”
The professor insists that a strong connection exists between high levels of intelligence and minimal sleep in infants. The babies are undergoing significant physiological development that robs them of sleep.
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Scientifically, it’s perfectly normal for babies not to sleep through the night
A professor of Psychology at Notre Dame University, Dacia Narvaez explains that human babies require more attention than babies from other mammals. Human babies have a relatively low gestation period. This translates to a lengthy developmental period outside the uterus.
“Human babies are born nine to eighteen months early compared to other animals. Other animals are able to walk around and start eating – we can’t do that. We look like fetuses when we’re born and we are. So that means you want to keep the baby calm while the brain systems are finishing because they only have 25% of the adult brain developed,” Professor Narvaez explained.
Professor Fleming gives more insight into this care-needing logic. He explained that smart babies naturally know when they’ll get more attention from their parents.
They notice early that their parents are always available at the early hours of the morning. They get better attention then than at any other time of the day, so they have to sleep less.
“From a biological point of view, what the baby is doing is completely normal and sensible. It just doesn’t fit with our 21st-century expectations,” Professor Fleming says.
Be proud of your baby’s midnight fussing
Working parents who are constantly stressed out should take this as a consolation. It will probably ease the frustration of having to wake up at 1:00 am to put your baby back to sleep. These experts insist you’re either cuddling, feeding, soothing or changing a budding Smart Alec, so do it with some joy and pride!
- Jennifer Hartnett. 2019. Smarter babies need less sleep and wake up through the night, experts claim. Retrieved from https://www.healthymummy.com/smarter-babies-need-less-sleep)
- Official website. 2019. www.buzzfeed.com
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