Sharing sleep safely: What you need to know

  • Again, in England, Heron found that it was the solitary sleeping children who were harder to handle (as reported by their parents) and who did not deal as well with stress, and who were rated as being more dependent on their parents than were the co-sleepers!(1)
  • In the largest and possible most systematic study to date, conducted on five different ethnic groups from both Chicago and New York and involving over 1,400 subjects, Mosenkis found far more positive adult outcomes for individuals who co-slept as a child, among almost all ethnic groups. An especially robust finding, which cut across all the ethnic groups, included in the study was that co-sleepers exhibited a feeling of satisfaction with life. But, Mosenkis's main finding went beyond trying to determine easy causal links between sleeping arrangements and adult characteristics or experiences. Perhaps his most important finding was that the interpretation of outcome of cosleeping had to be understood within the context specific to each cultural milieu, and within the context of the nature of social relationships the child has with its family members! For the most part, therefore, it is probably true that neither social sleep (co-sleeping) or solitary sleep as a child correlates with anything in any simple or direct way. Rather, sleeping arrangements can enhance or exacerbate the kind of relationships that characterize the child's daytime relationships and that, therefore, no one function can be associated with sleeping arrangements. Rather than assuming that sleeping arrangement produces a particular type of person, it is probably more accurate to think of sleeping arrangements as part of a larger system of affection and that it is altogether this larger system of attachment relationships, interacting with the child's own special characteristics that produces adult characteristics.
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