New research shows that the more men sleep with their baby, the less macho they may be. To date, little research has looked into dads who co-sleep and how it may affect not only their own bodies but their relationships with their partners and kids. Now though, this research has shed some light on new dads, showing that fathers who co-sleep have significantly lower levels of testosterone while sleeping, and a great decline in testosterone during waking hours too — as compared to dads who don’t co-sleep. Because past research has shown that a high testosterone level may interfere with paternal investment, this study may be an important key as to what makes a great dad and a good partner. To sum up, this study showed that overall, men who co-sleep have lower testosterone (T) levels. But is that so bad? Keep reading to see some of the pros of dads who co-sleep as suggested by this study.
Lower T Pros
- Past research shows that men with lower T levels often provide more child care – or you know, parenting time, than dads with high T levels.
- Fathers with the lowest T levels are also the fathers who are the most involved with parenting.
- Some past research on other species show that high T levels tend to interfere with paternal investment, which can lead to lower offspring growth and reduced survival
- Studies show that lower T men are more sensitive to their child’s needs. For example, one experimental study showed that men with high T levels reported lower sympathy, or didn’t feel the need to respond to infant cries while men with lower T did have baby sympathy and did think it was important to respond to their babies.
The researchers speculate that low T levels may be beneficial for kids. They note that many parts of the world, children with highly invested fathers have “Greater self-esteem and socialization skills, higher academic performance, and lower delinquency.” This research points out that co-sleeping may in fact be linked to better child development and health. Of course, what came first? The chicken or the egg? What this study may reveal is that men who do more parenting are simply more tired and their bodies are adjusting to that. We can’t be sure. What we do know, is in a world where moms do the bulk of the work surrounding parenting, we’ll take co-sleeping, involved and helpful dads over high T dads any day.
Lead image by marta1978 via sxc.