Newborn Sleep Cycles: Why Newborns Are Light Sleepers
When adults first fall asleep, we pass through a couple of light sleep stages, and then plunge into a bout of deep sleep.
Afterwards, we switch into REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, a sleep stage famous for its association with dreaming, and the loss of muscle tone. We dont move much during REM.
When REM is over, we either awaken, or return to light sleep and begin the cycle again. For the average adult, a single sleep cycle lasts about 90-100 minutes. We may partially awaken many times during the night. But were more likely to wake up all the way during transitions between stages, during light sleep, and during REM.
Newborn sleep is also characterized by sleep stages and cycles, but there are crucial differences.
First, babies typically begin their sleep bouts in the newborn equivalent of REM .
Second, newborns in REM dont usually experience muscle atonia.
Unlike us, they may thrash around, stretch, twitch, and even vocalize. The results can fool parents into thinking their babies are waking up, when they are actually experiencing normal REM sleep.
Third, newborn sleep cycles are shorter around 50-55 minutes for the average infant and REM makes up a much bigger proportion of sleep.
Its not unusual for newborns to spend more than half their total sleep time in REM . Indeed, several studies suggest that, over the course of a 24 hour day, some newborns spent may spend as much as 75% of their sleep time in active sleep .
Q: When Do I Have To Worry About Sleep Regressions
Your babys development and growth will lead to nap transitions and the maturation of sleep cycles that often impact sleep around 3 – 4 months old. The resulting change in sleep habits is often referred to as the 4 month sleep regression.
Newborn sleep guidance
Easy-to-follow steps that really work from pediatric sleep experts with your sleep goals in mind, even for the youngest kiddos. Sign up for Huckleberry Premium to get your newborn started off with a great sleep foundation.
Should I Let My Newborn Sleep All Day Will They Be Up All Night
Want peaceful school mornings and afternoons without power battles and nagging? Simple School Routines can help!
What’s in this post…
If youve been wondering if you should let your newborn sleep all day, lets break it down here for the whys and why nots.
Go with the flow. Let baby lead. Enjoy this time. Nap when baby naps. Babies dont keep.
These are things you hear and feel make sense except when rubber meets the road with your newborn it can be hard to figure out what to do. So lets get to it
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How Do You Feed Newborn Puppies
Hold your puppy in the position that they would be in if they were feeding from their mother. Drip small amounts of milk onto their tongue and let them swallow it. If necessary, encourage your puppy to swallow by gently massaging their throat. Be very careful not to force milk into your puppy because they may choke.
How Long Will My Newborn Sleep
Newborns should get 1417 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, says the National Sleep Foundation. Some newborns may sleep up to 1819 hours a day.
Newborns wake every couple of hours to eat. Breastfed babies feed often, about every 23 hours. Bottle-fed babies tend to feed less often, about every 34 hours.
Newborns who sleep for longer stretches should be awakened to feed. Wake your baby every 34 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.
The first months of a baby’s life can be the hardest for parents, who might get up many times at night to tend to the baby. Each baby has a different sleep pattern. Some start to sleep “through the night” by 23 months of age, but some don’t.
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Should I Wake My Baby During The Day
Your baby’s power naps can feel like a godsend to you, but if she snoozes for too long, you may have to wake her.
Very young babies need to eat frequently to get the nourishment they need. So if your newborns sleep schedule doesnt quite match up, you should wake her if she’s slept too long during the day or at night.
Breastfed newborns shouldnt go more than two to four hours without eating, and formula-fed babies shouldnt go longer than three to four hours. The rule typically applies to babies 3 weeks and younger who are still establishing a pattern of weight gain. Once your little one is consistently gaining a healthy amount, your pediatrician will likely tell you that it’s okay to stop waking her for feedings.
Rousing a sleeping newborn to eat can sometimes be tough, though. Youll have an easier time if you wake your little one during a light, REM stage of sleep, when her arms or legs are moving, her facial expressions are changing or her eyes are fluttering.
Since youve gone to the trouble of interrupting your newborns nap, do what you can to get her to take a full feeding. If despite your best attempts your baby isnt interested in more than a nibble, its okay to let her doze back off. But if youre having trouble getting in two full feedings in a row, let your pediatrician know.
If it seems like waking her will make it hard for her to make it to bedtime, you can always put her to bed earlier or offer a short late afternoon catnap.
Q: How Often Do 1 Month Old Babies Sleep
1 month olds need to sleep quite often aim to give your baby the opportunity to sleep after about 30 – 90 minutes of wakefulness. Look for sleepy cues to help determine when your newborn will be ready to sleep.When your baby starts looking away from you, getting a glazed-far away look in their eye, or rubbing/putting their forehead on you, theres a good chance theyre ready for a little snooze. Ideally, youll give your baby a chance to sleep before they reach the overtired stage, which makes it harder for them to fall asleep.When your baby starts looking away from you , or rubbing/putting their forehead on you, theres a good chance they’re ready for a little snooze. Ideally, you’ll give your baby a chance to sleep before they reach the overtired stage .
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Is It Normal For Babies To Take Naps
It is very common for babies to nap and obtain a meaningful portion of their total sleep during the day. Newborns often nap for at least 3-4 hours during the day, and though total nap time decreases as they get older, its typically for infants to continue to nap for 2-3 hours or more each day.
This napping is not just normal but also beneficial. Research has found that frequent naps allow infants to consolidate specific memories. In addition, naps enable a more generalized memory that is important for learning and brain development.
How Much Should A 1 Month Old Sleep
At this age, we hope to see at least 15.5 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Most babies are able to comfortably stay awake for only 30 – 90 minutes, so expect lots of daytime sleep. Its very common to feel like all youre doing is changing diapers and feeding your baby before its time for them to sleep again!
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Months Hours Of Sleep
The second month of your infants life will bring plenty of changes in her appearance and abilities, but the sleep situation will look much the same as it did the first month. Your infant may shave half an hour or so off of her overall sleep time, but still expect around eight to nine hours at night and at least three or four naps during the day.
If your baby suddenly starts waking up more often than normal at night for food or comfort, dont worry. Sleep regression occurs in many babies during the second month. Its a normal, if exhausting, stage. Try a pacifier to help your little one self-sooth and decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
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Learn How Much Sleep Your Baby Needs
For the first couple of months, newborns can’t decipher between day and night because they haven’t developed their own circadian rhythms of melatonin production, says Kim West, aka “The Sleep Lady” and author of The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight.
Your baby will likely sleep a total of 16 to 18 hours per day during their first weekabout half during the night and half spread out over four daytime naps. From two weeks to two months of age, they’ll sleep an average of 15.5 to 17 hours total, broken down by about 8.5 to 10 hours at night and six to seven hours during the day spread out over three to four naps. During the third month, babies need an average of 15 hours of sleep, with 10 hours at night and five hours spread out over three daytime naps.
How Much Sleep Do Kids Need
The amount of sleep that kids should get changes significantly as they get older. As they move from toddlers to school age, their sleep becomes increasingly similar to that of adults.
In this process, the sleep requirements for young children decline, and that is reflected primarily in a decreased amount of time spent napping during the day.
Even though kids sleep for fewer hours than babies, sleep remains critical to their overall health and development. Lack of sufficient sleep at a young age has been correlated with problems with weight, mental health, behavior, and cognitive performance.
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Normal Baby Sleep Versus Adult Sleep
Babies under 1 are naturally lighter sleepers compared with adults. They spend more of their sleeping time in ‘active sleep’ instead of ‘quiet sleep’.
In active sleep, babies breathe shallowly and twitch their arms and legs. Their eyes flutter under their eyelids. Babies can be easily woken up from active sleep.
Everybody has a cycle, where their sleep varies from light to deep. Adults’ sleep cycles are usually about 90 minutes. Babies’ sleep cycles are usually about 40 minutes, so they tend to wake up more often.
Top Sleep Tip For 1 Month Old Babies
Many families find it helpful to follow an eat, play, sleep routine in the early months. This means that you feed your baby when they wake and then follow it up with an activity period. Dont worry if your play period is only long enough for a diaper change and some eye contact before theyre ready for sleep again.
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Newborn Sleep Patterns And Behaviours
Crying is the way babies communicate with you. In the first three months, newborns cry a lot because they need your help to feed, change or settle so they can get back to sleep. Although they seem to spend a lot of time sleeping , they do not have established sleep-wake rhythms like we do. These first three months are an important time for you and your baby to start to learn and understand each other.
Sometimes newborn babies cry for no apparent reason, even though you have helped to soothe them. This is normal as long as your baby is growing, gaining weight and is happy at other times. However, if you are worried about your newborns crying, please talk to your maternal and child health nurse, doctor or phone the Maternal and Child Health Line on .
When To Contact A Doctor
When in doubt, contact a doctor. Only a doctor can accurately determine the reason that a newborn is sleeping too much. In many cases, a pediatrician may be able to assess the problem over the phone.
Excess sleep in a newborn is not typically an emergency unless they also show signs of respiratory problems. or go to the emergency room if the following apply:
- The baby is gasping for air or wheezing.
- The babys breathing is very loud.
- The babys nostrils flare when they breathe.
- The skin around the babys ribs sinks in when they breathe.
- The baby has a fever.
- The baby may have inhaled, touched, or eaten something toxic.
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Establishing A Baby Bedtime Routine
You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be a great opportunity to have 1-to-1 time with your baby.
The routine could consist of:
- having a bath
- changing into night clothes and a fresh nappy
- putting them to bed
- reading a bedtime story
- dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
- giving a goodnight kiss and cuddle
- singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed
- brushing their teeth
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
When Should I Seek A Doctor’s Help
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your baby seems to be extremely fussy/irritable or cannot be soothed he/she may have a medical problem such as colic or reflux .
- Your baby appears to have a breathing problem.
- Your baby has a difficult time being awakened from sleep.
- Your baby is uninterested in feeding or persistently shies away from activity.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/17/2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- National Sleep Foundation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics: Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. November 2016, 138. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe Sleep. Accessed 3/23/2020.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Education. Healthy Sleep Habits. Accessed 3/23/2020.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
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Will I Ever Sleep Again
The answer is…YES! Having a newborn baby is exhausting – we know! Infant sleep hours feel erratic and unpredictable at first. But there will be a light at the end of the tunnel! Our newborn sleep schedules will help you decode your baby’s sleep and guide you along the way to sleep success . It will take patience, but our newborn sleep schedules will help you get there.
Choose Your Bedtime Based On Your Cycle
Now you know how many hours your body likes to sleep and around what time you start getting tired and want to relax. Take those numbers, determine what time you need to wake up, and work backwards from there. Singh says that an ideal bedtime range for adults is between 8 p.m. and midnight, though he acknowledges that individuals must consider their social and work responsibilities and intrinsic preferences, such as being a night owl versus a morning person.
Lets say that you need to wake up by 6 a.m. and that you need 8 hours of sleep. Your bedtime, that is, the time you need to fall asleep by, would be 10 p.m. However, its unlikely that youll fall asleep right away, so you factor in the 20 to 30 minutes it takes to settle in bed, which means: If you need 8 hours of sleep and need to be up by 6 a.m., you want to be in bed by 9:30 p.m.
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Maternal And Child Health Nurse Visits Are Important
Victorian parents have free access to the Maternal and Child Health Service, which is a great support after your baby is born. Specially trained maternal and child health will work with your family to help you care for your child until they are ready to start school.As part of this service, you will visit a maternal and child health nurse in your local area at 10 key ages and stages in your childs development. These visits are important because they you an opportunity to identify and address any issues and concerns early in your childs development. Visits take place:
Baby Sleep Patterns By Age
Babies have different sleep patterns. Some take long day naps while others only have quick naps. Some wake up frequently through the night while others may sleep through or wake up occasionally. Their sleep patterns can also change a lot in the first year. While each baby is different, it may help you to understand how babies’ sleep cycles differ from those of adults and also what to expect at each stage.
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