Got A Non-Sleeper? Blame Your Bad Genes, Says Science 5 years ago

Got A Non-Sleeper? Blame Your Bad Genes, Says Science

If you nightstand is currently stacked high with books on how (how?!) to get your baby to sleep, brace yourself for this news: There is probably very little you can do about a bad sleeper. 

Yeah, I know your probably hit up Amazon in a 2am sleep-deprived frenzy, and are now in possession of a small library on books about baby sleep, but if this new study is anything to go by, they are all pretty much useless.

According to a new Canadian study, you can read and sleep train until the cows come home, because your baby's bad sleeping habits is largely down to your own genetics.

The study, published in Paediatrics, found that a baby’s genetic makeup has far more of an impact on their sleep habits than any other factors, such as sleep training, co sleeping or feeding.


The researchers used a sample group of 995 sets of twins aged 6, 18, 30 and 48 months to determine what, if any, factors influenced when a baby started sleeping through the night. And interestingly, what they found, was that in 47 per cent of 6 month olds, 58 per cent of 30 month olds and 54 per cent of 48 month olds, genetics were largely to blame (or thank) for how well a baby slept.

If you want to look on the bright side, though, this can be reassuring, because what they are basically saying is that even if you have a baby that wakes every 20 minutes throughout the night, it is not something you are doing wrong.

The researchers also suggests that parents of babies who have ‘failed’ a variety of sleep training methods do so because the babies are just genetically programmed too wake frequently at night, and therefore no method that you enforce will alter what their bodies tell them to do.

Interestingly, daytime sleep, as opposed to the sleeping babies are (supposed to be) doing during the night, was found to be more strongly influenced by environmental factors than genetics in young babies, with the study not surprisingly finding that babies dozed better in spaces which were quiet and dark.

Well, guys, seeing as there is fine flippin' little we can all do about our genetic composition, let's at least take a moment and celebrate that bad sleepers are not a result of a parent fail on our part!