Sleeping arrangements are influenced by culture. The most prominent sleeping arrangement studied is parent-child co-sleeping. An anthropologist named John Whiting evaluated 136 societies in which he drew an outline of four different types of sleeping arrangements that he would observe. Throughout his study he discovered that the most popular sleeping arrangement was the mother and child sleeping together with the father somewhere else. This mostly occurred in polygamous societies. Another anthropologist, Gilda Morelli, studied the co-sleeping patterns in North America compared to the Mayan Culture due to the finding that Industrialized societies began to influence private sleeping patterns. Babies in all cultures do some kind of co-sleeping throughout the night. Although, in America babies are forced into their own bed at earlier ages than other cultures. Other cultures, in this case the Mayans, were informed of American children’s sleeping locations and felt sorry for the children being alone. A huge reason for co-sleeping found in Morelli’s fieldwork was feeding at night. The Mayan babies were able to breast feed during the night while the mothers were still asleep. On the other hand the American parents had to stay awake for nighttime feeding rituals. These were two accounts of fieldwork performed by Anthropologists to study sleeping rituals within different societies based on cultural differences.
Culture is the main reason we sleep with the people we do. Sleeping arrangements are passed down from generation to generation and it is the last tradition to be changed according to the article, Sleep With Me: A Trans-Cultural Look at the Power and Protection of Sharing a Bed. Babies sleeping with mothers is due to the evolutionary term of natural selection. This practice was used to increase the survival of infants and this is why babies are still sleeping with mothers today. Although babies sleep for some time with their mothers in every culture, each culture has adapted to their own customs for sleeping overtime.