Scientists have uncovered something that may bring comfort, if not more sleep, to tired new parents. And it is that, contrary to popular belief, it could be beneficial for your baby to keep you up at night. Despite the common desire for uninterrupted sleep, this nocturnal activity may be a sign of your baby's intelligence.

The University of Bristol conducted a study revealing that sleep disruptions could be linked to cognitive abilities in babies. The research indicates that babies who do not settle for a full night's sleep may be more intelligent than their more well-rested counterparts.

Professor Peter Fleming, one of Bristol University’s researchers on infant health and developmental psychology, shared that there could very well be a connection between higher intellectual achievement and disrupted sleep patterns in infants. He said, "Human infants are not designed to sleep for long periods.” He added that there is no evidence that extended and consistent sleep is beneficial for children, even though this might not be something most parents would want to hear.

Fleming mentioned that babies who have trouble sleeping are likely to be active from around 6pm to midnight. He explained that from a biological perspective, this is a significant advantage for infants as it allows them to receive more attention from their primary caregivers when there are fewer distractions.

He also noted that even adults wake up periodically throughout the night, which is a normal pattern that is often unnoticed. He suggested that our ancestors were hunter-gatherers who would have been accustomed to this sleep-wake cycle throughout the night. It's our modern lifestyle that has prompted us to expect long periods of wakefulness and uninterrupted sleep.

Picture: Mother holding her baby in her arms (ChildUp & DALL-E - 2022)