Nurturing Dads: Co-Sleepers Have Lower Testosterone Levels

According to a new study, fathers who co-sleep with their kids experience lower levels of testosterone. The findings imply that the ability to nurture children has a deeper biological basis than previously suspected.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

Filipino fathers who sleep in the same room as their children experience lower levels of testosterone during the night, according to a recent study. It's a follow-up to another study that revealed that new fathers -- those with a baby between the ages of 1 and 12 months -- experience a 30 percent drop in testosterone. The subjects lived in the Cebu province of the Philippines, where -- the authors are careful to point out -- co-sleeping is common, with 95 percent sharing a sleeping surface with, or sleeping in the same room as, their children.

What's the Big Idea?

The study challenges the notion that mothers are biologically more equipped or better equipped to care for children. The testosterone dip may correlate to a man's no longer needing to compete against other men for a spouse. This has potentially profound cultural implications; as one researcher writes, "For some people, the social idea that taking care of your kids is a key component of masculinity and manliness may not be new, but we see increasing biological evidence suggesting that males have long embraced this role....[D]oesn't that suggest that such behaviors should be considered a part of 'what it means to be a man' or manliness or masculinity?"

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