It's an ongoing debate among parents of whether it is better for parents to raise kids together, even if they are unhappy, rather than live separately but presumably happier. New research seems to point to the latter side of this argument. In a study of over 350 adopted infants, those with parents who were unhappy in their relationship were more likely to have sleep problems.
Researchers at Oregon State University in collaboration with seven other universities in the US discovered that nine month old babies whose parents experienced marital problems were more likely to experience sleep problems at 18 months of age, past the stage when most infants learn to sleep through the night. The sleep issues included trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Scientists used adopted children for the study to eliminate the possibility of genetic tendencies. They also looked to see if the sleep problems were the reason for marital conflict but did not find it to be true. Marital instability was gauged with survey questions including, “Has the thought of separating or getting a divorce crossed your mind?”
Research had previously found that children lacking sleep often experience low grades, inattention and behavioral problems. Anne Manning, a faculty member at OSU said of the findings, “Parents should be aware that stress in the marriage can potentially impact their child even at a very young age.”
Do you have any children who experience sleep difficulties?
Marriage problems related to infants’ sleep difficulties [OSU]