13 Facts about Baby’s Sleep

Sep 6, 2019 by

Are you an exhausted parent living on a few hours of sleep each night?

Welcome to the club of parenthood, and it’s one where sleep exhaustion is a familiar friend. Babies have strange sleep patterns, and it seems as if they’re always changing what works. You might find some fascinating facts about your baby’s sleep that will help you understand your baby’s sleep.

15 Facts about Baby’s Sleep

  • Movement Mimics the Feeling of the Womb

Have you ever wondered why baby’s fall asleep so easy when they’re rocked or in the car? The movement mimics the feeling of the womb. As you walked, your movements lulled your baby to sleep, but now they’re in the real world. Movement doesn’t happen unless we make it happen.

That’s why swings are so popular. For example, you can check out 4Moms Rockaroo review here. The smooth back and forth motions help your baby fall asleep. Using this, in the beginning, can be helpful to get your baby some shut-eye without being in your arms.

  • Babies Do Sleep A Lot
  • If you ask an exhausted parent if their baby sleeps a lot, chances are they’ll tell you no, but babies do sleep a lot. The bags under your eyes might disagree, but an average newborn baby sleeps between 16 to 19 hours per day. A typical four to six-month-old baby sleeps 12 to 14 hours per day.

The problem is that babies sleep in small chunks spread throughout 24 hours. Adults need their large portion of sleep all at one time, so they don’t line up well.

  • Babies Have Shorter Sleep Cycles
  • Adults have a set of four sleep stages that we rotate throughout the night, but babies have two sleep cycles. They move from light sleep, which is known as REM, into a deeper sleep, known as NREM.

The sleep cycle only takes 50-60 minutes, and most babies wake up during the REM stage. That’s why babies often wake up in the middle of their sleep, and you have to comfort them back to sleep.

  • Shut Eyes Doesn’t Mean Fast Asleep
  • Have you ever tried to lay your baby down to sleep when his eyes were shut only for them to open as soon as they touch the bed? Your little one fooled you because closed eyes don’t mean your baby is fast asleep.

A flexed body, erratic breathing, and fluttering eyes are all signs that your baby is still in the REM stage of sleep. Let your baby transition into the deeper stage of sleep before laying him down to reduce the risk of a wake-up.

  • Babies Take Longer to Enter a Deep Sleep

We all know this cycle. You rock or feed your baby, and he falls asleep. Then, you gently lay him down to sleep, and he wakes up again. You’re suddenly back to square one. Does this scenario sound familiar?

What many parents don’t understand is that babies take up to 20 minutes to reach their deep sleep cycle. So, when you tried to lay him down in his bed, he was sleeping very lightly, and you disturbed him.

Learn how to identify which sleep state your baby is in at all times. If his eyelids are fluttering with irregular breathing, he is in light sleep. He might flex his hands, occasionally startle, twitch, or smile. If you attempt to move him at this time, chances are he will wake up.

Deeper sleep is characterized by regular breathing, relaxed muscles, and a lack of grimaces and twitches.

  • Sleep Begets More Sleep

If you spent all day napping, you’d struggle to go to sleep that night, but that’s not how it works for babies. When babies are chronically overtired, it makes it harder for them to fall asleep. A well-rested baby is the one that sleeps the best.

  • Sleep is Linked to Development

You might be one of those lucky parents who have an excellent sleeping baby from the start. If you don’t fall in that category, let me tell you – nothing is wrong with your baby. Sleep has a direct link to your infant’s development and growth.

We know that all babies grow and develop at their own rate. So, it makes sense to take it just a bit further and say that, since babies grow differently, they all sleep differently. Babies reach sleep milestones on their own time.

  • You Can’t Force Better Sleep

Since sleep is developmental, you can’t force the process of better sleep. For example, some people think that weaning their baby will help them sleep longer, but it’s not true.

Another popular theory is that leaving your baby to cry it out helps them sleep through the night. However, controlled crying affects your baby’s brain development due to the high, frequent exposure to the stress hormone called cortisol. It’s also believed to have long-term effects on emotional development.

Rather than learning to sleep, controlled crying teaches babies that no one will come to soothe her. It’s not encouraging sleep but rather a trained response.

  • Light Sleep is a Necessity
  • Light sleep isn’t just a way to drive your parents into insanity; it has a real purpose. An example of this necessity is that infants must frequently eat throughout the night. Growth and reaching milestones is the goal of all baby’s, and they need to eat. Most babies are unable to sleep for longer than 3 hours without eating for the first few months of their life.

Many doctors also believe that light sleep services as a protective mechanism against SIDS. That’s one of the reasons why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing for six months or longer. Noises created by the parents help to encourage lighter sleep and protects from SIDS.

  • Babies Learn in Their Sleep

Did you know that babies learn in their sleep? Doctors believe that light sleep, known as REM, helps brain development rather than letting it rest. Blood flow to the brain increases and the body creates more nerve proteins that promote brain activity.

  • Some Babies Don’t Sleep Through The Night Until They’re Older

It sometimes feels as if the STTN club is one that you have to become a member of within the first year of your baby’s life, but the pressure to get your baby to sleep can be frustrating.

We’re here to tell you that it’s completely normal if your baby is a year old and not sleeping through the night – seriously! The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a sleep study in 2018, and the results showed a large percentage of developmentally healthy babies wouldn’t STTN by six months of age or even a year old.

This study showed that 43% of 12-month-old babies weren’t sleeping 8-hour stretches. The study also didn’t find a single correlation between frequent waking up at night and problems with cognitive, language, or motor development.

  • Having a Dark Room Does Help

It’s not just a silly idea to make sure your baby’s room is dark when it’s nighttime. Enjoying an abundance of daylight and avoiding lights throughout the night helps your baby’s body distinguish between day and night.

As your baby gets older, having darkness at bedtime helps their body produce the right amount of melatonin. Melatonin is crucial for proper sleep because it’s the sleep-inducing hormone that is naturally released in our bodies.

  • Daytime Naps Vary Drastically

Yes, we know the ideal hours that your baby should nap each day. A good nap should at least an hour and a half in length, and doctors have a recommended amount of naps per day depending on your child’s age.

Not all babies fall into these perfect nap ranges. If your baby naps longer but takes fewer naps, that’s okay. If your baby takes shorter naps but more often during the day, then that’s fine too. Look more at the total amount of sleep per day rather than following the “perfect” schedule.

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