Two scientific studies have demonstrated the power of movement: by cradling a baby, it will sleep sooner and better
For mothers, cradling your baby is an automatic gesture. One of the most natural that a parent does. But, beyond the affective side and the love that that simple gesture tells, there is also a fundamental utility: according to recent studies, being lulled helps children fall asleep faster and strengthens their memory.
Published in the journal Current Biology, the two studies – both conducted in Switzerland – started from an assumption: a baby, if lulled, falls asleep sooner. But why is that happening? To prove it, the scientists put the volunteers to sleep for two nights in their "sleep lab", providing them with a fold-down bed the first night and a "fixed" bed the second. The result? The first night they all fell asleep faster and had a longer phase of so-called regenerating sleep, or deep sleep, which circulates slow waves in the brain (thus making us wake up more rested). Upon awakening, the volunteers were subjected to a memory test – which consisted of remembering pairs of words learned the night before – in which they scored better. Hence the conviction: being lulled helps you sleep sooner and better, and strengthens your memory.
A second test, conducted instead on the mice, has investigated the effects of the undulatory movement and has discovered that they are mediated by the inner ear: it is this, which transfers the information of the movement to the brain. Now, the goal of scholars is to get to reconstruct the effects of rocking in an artificial way, so as to stimulate the neural areas activated by the undulatory movement to help those suffering from insomnia.
Here, then, that cradling your child (especially if he is struggling to fall asleep) helps him sleep more easily. And it could even improve its memory. One more reason to do it even when the baby is lighter and cuddling, to cuddle, becomes a gesture to protect his well-being.