If you’ve ever been depressed or been close to someone who was depressed, you don’t need us to tell you that a major casualty of the disorder is sleep. Whether out of sheer anxiety or not, the ability to train your mind into a restful state can affect those around you—even your baby.
A new study by researchers at Penn State suggests that if moms exhibit signs of depression, their babies are much more likely to experience poor sleep quality, reports MSNBC. A mother’s own anxiety about her child’s wellbeing can have major psychological effects, including sleep disturbance for her and her baby.
Multiple reasons are cited for this trend, including moms waking their babies unnecessarily or moving them to their own beds to alleviate their own anxiety about their child’s hunger, thirst or comfort.
Think poor sleep quality isn’t that big a deal? Think again. "Sleep problems often endure beyond early childhood, and can have a negative effect on various aspects of development, including emotional, behavioral, and academic functioning," says Dr. Douglas Teti, one of the researchers involved in the study.
Did you experience symptoms of depression when your child was an infant? Did you or your baby have trouble sleeping in the postpartum months, beyond the usual?