baby care

20 Facts About Baby Sleep

Your baby’s clock is off. Most babies don’t develop their own circadian rhythms until about 12 weeks old. As a result, melatonin isn’t produced in response to darkness the way that it is for you and me. This is one of the reasons that newborn infants sleep on and off around the clock. 

Babies like to be close. Many babies find it comforting to sleep close their mothers. This includes both co-sleeping and simply sleeping in the same room as mom. Both have potential advantages for your baby’s quality of sleep.

Your soothing could be stimulating. Sometimes a parent’s efforts to soothe their baby has the opposite effect. Common examples include wrapping a baby too snuggly in their blanket, talking to them when they’re trying to fall asleep, or picking them up every time they make noise in their sleep.

Babies need bedtimes. Routine is helpful for most people, regardless of age, and babies are no different. Babies who are put down for naps around the same time every day tend to fall asleep more easily and wake up less often. 

Babies need a change of routine as they grow. The sleep schedule of a newborn will differ from that of a six-month-old or an eight-month-old. Understanding how much sleep babies need at different ages, and how often they need it, will help you to create effective routines for maximizing your baby’s healthy sleep.

Babies need to unwind before bed time. Too much stimulus before bed can make it hard for a baby to fall asleep. Choose evening rituals that soothe, rather than stimulate. 

Babies like to practice. When babies are learning to sit up, roll over, or crawl, they may wake up in the night to practice these skills. They will often put themselves back to sleep, so avoid further interrupting their sleep by picking babies up unnecessarily.

Babies have short sleep cycles. While the average adult sleep cycle lasts 90-120 minutes, a baby’s sleep cycles is usually only 40-60 minutes. 

Teething hurts. Babies who are teething wake up more easily due to painful gum irritation. 

Babies don’t like to be interrupted. Noises and squirming are normal parts of baby sleep; there’s usually no need to intervene for these kinds of disruptions. 

Your baby is too tired. Overtired babies have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. The quality of sleep may also be reduced if your baby is fatigued.

Babies like to suck. Babies are biologically programmed to suck. Providing a breast, bottle, or pacifier will comfort and relax them before and during sleep.

Waking up at night is useful. The ability to wake up easily is an evolutionary advantage that helps babies get their needs taken care of. A poorly sleeping baby can be disheartening, but take comfort in knowing that waking up at night is meant to help keep your baby safe.

Babies need to move. Movement, such as carrying, bouncing, or rocking, can relieve digestive discomfort and muscle pain that keep babies awake. 

Closed eyes don’t mean deep sleep. Due to their shorter sleep cycles, babies may only be dozing when they appear to be sleeping. 

Babies have tiny tummies. Food is processed quickly, and hunger can be painful. Newborn babies need to be fed 8-12 times in every 24 hour period, so they should not sleep through the night.

Babies experience discomfort. Gas, teething, hunger, and thirst are just a few of the common discomforts that babies face. Finding ways to relieve discomfort will help your baby get better sleep.

Babies are learning to self-soothe. Babies don’t start out with the skills to soothe themselves. Crying is often the only tool they have to get their needs met. Your baby probably won’t begin to learn to self soothe until after three months.

Sleep is important for development. Babies don’t just need sleep to get over being tired. Good baby sleep also promotes healthy brain and nervous system development. 

Light matters. Sleeping in the dark helps babies’ bodies learn to produce melatonin, an important hormone for sleep regulation. Keeping the baby’s room dark at night can help them as they develop their own circadian rhythms. On the other hand, having them nap in a dark room during the day may interfere with circadian rhythm, causing babies to wake up more often during the night.

Sleeping in the dark helps babies’ bodies learn to produce melatonin, an important hormone for sleep regulation. Keeping the baby’s room dark at night can help them as they develop their own circadian rhythms. On the other hand, having them nap in a dark room during the day may interfere with circadian rhythm, causing babies to wake up more often during the night.

As you can see, baby sleep is affected by a wide variety of factors! 

With so many influences, it’s no wonder that parents often feel overwhelmed when babies don’t sleep well. The more you understand about your baby’s sleep needs, the easier it will be to problem solve sleep issues. By taking the time to get a hold on the basics, you will have less stress and a much greater chance for success. 

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