Can Sleep Make You a Better Parent?

Can Sleep Make You a Better Parent?

At Nanit Lab’s 2024 Symposium, experts shared fascinating new data on how the quality of your sleep directly relates to how confident and capable you feel as a parent. Here’s what we learned.

Recently, Nanit brought together some of our research collaborators from all over the world for our annual Nanit Lab Symposium. The goal? To shed important light on the connections and revelations between health, wellness, and sleep—and help families get more quality ZZZs. 

Two of these studies explored how sleep influences your relationship with your baby, studying the compelling connection between sleep and parental confidence. Read on to get our favorite tips and takeaways.

Bond Baby Bond

Who: Dr. Michal Kahn, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Topic: Do infant and parent sleep predict next-day parent mood and parent-infant bonding? An auto-videosomnography study

The Gist: Dr. Khan’s study explored how sleep (and lack of sleep) affects the relationship between parents and infants. The study included 844 parents of infants aged 4 to 18 months. Parents filled out sleep diaries reporting on three different Sundays. Infants’ sleep data was collected by Nanit monitors.

Top 3 Takeaways: 

  1. We need sleep to function at our best. Sleep gives our bodies a chance to eliminate toxins, restore cells, and grow. Sleep also makes it easier for us to learn and regulate ourselves. 
  2. When parents got a good night’s sleep (longer and with less wake-ups), it was easier for them to bond with their baby the next day. 
  3. However, how well a baby slept didn’t seem to influence how well their parent bonded with them.

The Night Shift Effect

Who: Dr. Christine Ou + Caryn Dooner, University of Victoria, Canada

Topic: The Night Shift: Parental Role Division and Family Sleep

Gist: This study examined how nighttime parental duties are divided up between partners and what kinds of division of labor help families sleep better. Nanit helped to recruit couples living in Canada.

Top 3 Takeaways: 

  1. Many moms in heterosexual couples report that they do the lion’s share of nighttime parenting duties—and feel lonely, exhausted, depressed, and angry as a result.
  2. Same sex couples are more egalitarian when it comes to the division of childcare.
  3. When dads pitch in, especially with bedtime routines and morning duties, the whole family sleeps better.

New Daily Mantra: I can lean on my support systems for help at night, so everyone can get the rest they need. 

As a parent, it’s hard to ask for help. So, if you need a little motivation to wave that white surrender flag (at least for a minute or two), let science bolster your courage. Studies show that when everyone pitches in, everyone does better–you get better sleep and feel more connected, relaxed, and capable as a parent. That village is there for you for a reason…now go use it! (And take that catnap.)

Nanit is dedicated to delivering high-quality, reliable content for our readers. Our Parent Confidently articles are crafted by experienced parenting contributors and are firmly rooted in data and research. To ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content, all articles undergo a rigorous review process by our team of parenting experts. Additionally, our wellness-related content receives further scrutiny from Nanit Lab, our think tank of scientists, engineers, physicians, academic experts, and thought leaders.

Our primary objective is to furnish readers with the most current, trustworthy, and actionable information concerning a host of parenting topics. We strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions by offering comprehensive and respected insights.

In pursuit of transparency and credibility, our articles incorporate credible third-party sources, peer-reviewed studies, and abstracts. These sources are directly linked within the text or provided at the bottom of the articles to grant readers easy access to the source material.


Natalie Barnett, PhD serves as VP of Clinical Research at Nanit. Natalie initiated sleep research collaborations at Nanit and in her current role, Natalie oversees collaborations with researchers at hospitals and universities around the world who use the Nanit camera to better understand pediatric sleep and leads the internal sleep and development research programs at Nanit. Natalie holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of New England in Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Pediatric Sleep Science from the University of Western Australia. Natalie was an Assistant Professor in the Neurogenetics Unit at NYU School of Medicine prior to joining Nanit. Natalie is also the voice of Nanit's science-backed, personalized sleep tips delivered to users throughout their baby's first few years.

Kristy Ojala is Nanit’s Digital Content Director. She spends way too much time looking at maps and weather forecasts and pictures of Devon Rex cats and no-cook dinners. A former sleep champion, she strives to share trustworthy somnabulism tips with other parents—praying for that one fine day when no tiny humans wake her up while it’s still dark out. Her kids highly recommend 3 books, approximately 600 stuffies, Chopin’s “Nocturnes,” and the Nanit Sound + Light for bedtime success.

Mackenzie Sangster is on the Brand and Community team at Nanit. She supports content development and editing for Nanit’s Parent Confidently blog as well as other marketing initiatives. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her friends, cooking, being active, and using the Pro + Flex Duo to keep an eye on her fur-baby, Poppy!

Holly Hays is a contributor and writer for Nanit, channeling her years as a mama and former magazine editor to create fun, useful content for fellow busy, trying-to-do-their-best parents and caregivers. Holly has written for a wide range of brands and media outlets (Ergobaby, HGTV, Manhattan Toy Company, OXO), loves to cook and read mystery novels, and leans heavily on her two daughters to keep her up to date on all the latest slang.