Establishing a good sleep routine for babies is essential for both parents and children, but a new study has revealed that sleep problems in infancy are linked to adolescent psychotic experiences, suggesting that early intervention with sleep problems is key.

Carried out by the University of Birmingham, the study looked at questionnaire data from the longitudinal Children of the 90s study and found that young children who woke up frequently during the night and had irregular sleep routines were associated with adolescent mental health conditions.

Senior author on the study professor Steven Marwaha explained that adolescence is a key period of development to study the onset of a range of mental disorders, including borderline personality disorder and psychosis.

He went on to add: “This is because of particular brain and hormonal changes which occur at this stage. It’s crucial to identify risk factors that might increase the vulnerability of adolescents to the development of these disorders, identify those at high risk, and deliver effective interventions. This study helps us understand this process, and what the targets might be.

“Sleep may be one of the most important underlying factors – and it’s one that we can influence with effective, early interventions, so it’s important that we understand these links.”

Establishing a routine with a newborn is very important, but remember that every child is different. Some babies will sleep a lot more than others, some will do it for long periods and others will sleep in short bursts.

Your child will have its own pattern of waking up and going to sleep but it’s unlikely that this will fit in with your own sleep pattern – so try and sleep when your baby does. Try and teach them from the outset that night time is different to daytime, which can help get a routine in place.

Need the help of a baby sleep expert? Take a look at ways I can help you and your baby get more sleep!