Co-sleeping, the practice of parents and young children sleeping in the same bed, is a widely talked about and debated topic in the UK. Whilst there are risks surrounding co-sleeping with your new-born, the NHS does not mention the health implications of sharing a bed with your primary-aged child, leaving the choice up to the preferences of the parents. Below we have compiled a list of the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your child, making it easier for you to decide what is best for you and your little one.
• Better Sleeping Habits?
Young children are full of energy and often don’t know how to unwind themselves when they lie down to sleep on the bed. As a result, the transition from wakefulness to sleep becomes difficult for them and they stay awake. Co-sleeping provides parents of such children an opportunity to guide their little ones on how to settle down and fall asleep. This leads to children learning better sleep habits.
• Positive effect on emotional health?
Young children who co-sleep with their parents can grow into individuals who have a higher self-esteem and are less anxious. Co-sleeping provides children with the opportunity to cuddle up with their parents if they share the same bed, making them feel secure, loved and connected.
• Positive effect on family?
Children who sleep alone may wake up in the night feeling lonely and scared. During such moments, they may cry loudly to seek help from their parents, waking up the household in the process. This can result in disturbed sleep for everyone. When sleeping beside their parents, such instances are rarer, allowing everyone to maximise the amount of sleep they are getting.
• Increased dependence on parents?
It is generally seen that young children who co-sleep with their parents during the night are unable to fall asleep on their own. Such dependence can result in irregular bedtimes for children, as they tend to wait for their parents whose bedtimes are a little more irregular.
• Poor quality sleep?
The fear of rolling over and squashing their child can often sacrifice parent’s quality of sleep. As a result, they wake feeling tired and inadequately rested.
• Increased sleep problems?
Children who tend to co-sleep with their parents report increased instances of sleep problems years later. Co-sleepers can often have a significantly later bedtime, short night time sleep durations and more behavioural and emotional problems compared to other groups.
NHS Live Well: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/