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 .
Avoid Naps During The Day
Napping during the day makes it harder to get good sleep at night. James says, Because is a bit like hydration, you built up a thirst for sleep during the day.
If you have a nap, that relieves the thirst a bit. Thats part of the reason why people are going to bed later because theyre having a nap during the day, so theyre not going to bed at their normal time, so their not getting much sleep. Its a vicious cycle.
Instead, keep yourself busy at home with projects that will keep you from wanting to doze off.
If You Are Breastfeeding You Are Likely To Get More Sleep If You Keep Your Baby Nearby
The World Health Organization recommends that babies share a bedroom with their parents, and its a recommendation that makes breastfeeding less disruptive. A recent study found that breastfeeding women got more sleep when they co-slept with baby . In fact, mothers who co-slept and breastfed got more sleep than did mothers who bottle-fed their babies .
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What Are Some Common Sleep Problems
- Sleep deprivation: Some children dont get enough sleep. If your child is fussy, cranky or has difficulty staying asleep at night it might be because they arent getting enough naptime or aren’t getting to bed early enough.
- : Your child may have difficulty relaxing and going to sleep if they feel upset that you are not there. Try an extra long cuddle before bedtime, a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal, or leaving their door open when you put them to bed.
- Nightmares: Most children will experience nightmares at one time or another. Nightmares can happen after a stressful physical or emotional event or can be caused by fever. Your child may call out to you for comfort. Talk calmly, cuddle and reassure your child.
What Bedtime For A 2
As for bedtime, many parents find a later bedtime works for their 2-month-old babies. Thats because, at this age, it still makes sense to time babys bedtime up with your own, in order to maximize your own sleep. Since a babys longest, deepest stretch of sleep is usually the first stretch after bedtime, this helps your sleep as well.
However, you can start easing into an earlier bedtime once your baby is 3 months old. This bedtime chart will help you identify your babys ideal bedtime.
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Q: When Is The First Sleep Regression
Around 3 – 4 months old, your babys development and growth will lead to the maturation of sleep cycles. This often significantly impacts sleep. The change in sleep habits is often referred to as the 4 month sleep regression.
Newborn sleep guidance
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Week Old Sleep Schedule / 3 Month Old Sleep Schedule Development And Sleep Patterns
Your newborns sleep patterns have likely changed significantly from a few weeks ago. 12-week-olds are starting to approach the time when we start to see newborn sleep problems if you havent seen them up to this point. Naps sometimes get shorter and it may be harder to stick to your schedule or eat-play-sleep routine. Your baby still needs 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 3-4 hours during the day, but the total average sleep is right around 14 hours. Of course, by definition, some babies will need more and some will need less. If your baby needs less, developing a 3-month-old schedule is usually more difficult. Ideally, youd keep your baby awake no longer than two hours at a time.
Here is what a typical 12 week old sleep schedule looks like, though not always predictable just yet:
|12-Week-Old Sleep Schedule|
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Separate Eating From Sleeping
After the first month, you dont want to let your baby fall asleep while youre feeding or rocking them, because you want them to figure out how to put themselves to sleep.
They may eat a little, doze a little, and eat some more, a couple of times. If they go to sleep and keep sleeping when youre feeding them, stop and put them to bed.
Some parents try to push more formula, breast milk, or baby food to try to make a baby sleep on schedule or sleep longer. This isnt good for your baby. Just like you when youve eaten too much, your overfed baby wont be comfortable enough to rest well.
Create An Optimal Sleep Environment
It is understandable that you want to fall asleep on time but with the constant disruptions to your sleep, it can be difficult to get into bed and wake at your usual time. With that being said:
Start a pre-sleep routine. For those who are wondering, How to fix my sleep schedule?, it is always a good idea to have a pre-sleep routine, so your body will know that it is almost time for bed. Parts of your pre-sleep routine can include taking a shower, reading a book, or listening to some soothing music so you can fall asleep easily.
Darken your bedroom. Another way for you to fall asleep effortlessly at night is to make sure that your bedroom is darkened. One reason why we have trouble falling asleep is too much light. If there is a street light near your window, you can use blackout curtains to darken your room and help get you back to your natural sleep and wake cycle.
Reduce exposure to blue light. Sleeping at night can be disrupted because of our use of our gadgets before sleeping. If you want to get a good nights rest avoid using your favorite electronics at least 30 minutes before bed time so your melatonin production will not be disrupted.
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Be Careful Of What You Watch Before You Sleep
While we might love to watch our favourite drama before we head to bed, James says this is not a good thing to do if youre already struggling to sleep. Instead he suggests, Watch something funny, trashy or repetitive like your favourite rom-com. Dont have to tell us twice!
The popular films you can find on streaming sites like Disney+ are perfect for this, as theyll have collections of films youve definitely seen before perfect for relaxing and calming down before bed. He also advises, We often see our devices as being the enemy and say we need to leave our phones downstairs before bed, but this works for very few people. Theres good stuff on your phone theres Headspace for example. Many people find mindfulness and meditation very useful .
Dont Wake Your Baby To Feed After 2 Months
If your baby is gaining weight properly, you dont have to wake them at night for feedings. Your baby needs to find them own sleep schedule. Once they are eating more in the daytime, they dont need to wake and eat at night.
Here are some instances where you should wake your baby:
- They are sleeping more in the day than the night and missing their daytime feeds.
- Dont let them go more than 4 hours without eating during the day. You may need to wake the baby up to feed at night, but it is probably better to try to change your babys daytime habits rather than continuing to wake them every 4 hours at night.
Your babys pediatrician will give you advice for your baby. For premature or special-needs babies, you may need to adjust feedings.
How Do I Put My Newborn On A Sleep Schedule
Im write this post not because I believe newborns can or should be on a schedule, but because I know this is a question frequently asked by new parents. First, lets define two terms newborn and schedule. Newborns are babies aged birth16 weeks, counting from their due date. If you give birth 4 weeks early, your baby remains in the newborn stage until they are 20 weeks of age chronologically. Schedule refers simply to naps and bedtime happening at more or less the same times each day.
When You Cant Adjust Your Sleep Schedule
There are going to be times when you cannot adjust your work or life schedule. But you can still learn how to fix sleep schedule challenges with small changes.
Adjust the lighting in your bedroom, invest in new linens you cant wait to sleep in, or treat yourself to some cozy new pajamas. Start going to bed earlier and waking up with the sun each morning.
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Week Old Sleep Schedule / 4 Month Old Sleep Schedule Development And Sleep Patterns
16 weeks is the last that we consider a newborn. Your baby should be awake a lot more during the day and developing some personality! By this age, I knew my son was very spirited and persistent, and I had challenges in my future! He did end up inspiring an entire website after all.
At 16 weeks old or 4 months, the main sleep problem we see is the famous 4 Month Sleep Regression. Babies tend to wake up frequently at night and take short naps after this regression begins. However, keep in mind that this can occur as early as 12 weeks old or as late as 5 months old. Some babies will go back to sleeping well while others will need more help learning how to sleep in longer stretches at night and take longer naps.
Here is what a sleep schedule for your 16 week old might look like:
|16-Week-Old Sleep Schedule|
I hope this post gives you some ideas about an appropriate newborn sleep schedule for your baby and about your babys sleep patterns. But, keep in mind that all babies are unique and some are more predictable and easy-going than others. Spirited babies tend to be more challenging when it comes to sleep schedules. Take heart that all babies do eventually get into a rhythm, though not all are predictable to the clock. Youll get to know your baby and his or her unique needs.
Newborn Sleeping Feeding And Play: Letting Your Baby Lead The Routine
With newborn sleeping and feeding, the key is being flexible and following your babys lead. Your baby will let you know whether they want to sleep, feed or interact with you its OK to go with whatever feels right at the time.
Its also OK to try to do things in a similar order if that feels right for you and your baby. For example, you could trya simple routine of feed, play, sleep. Heres what this might look like:
If you try this kind of routine, its still important to watch your babys cues and respond.
For example, your baby might show tired signs soon after a feed. This means that its time for your baby to sleep, even if you and baby havent had much time to play.
Or your baby might show signs of being hungry after a play. In this situation, just give your baby another feed before settling baby for sleep. Your baby will sleep better with a full tummy.
Or your baby might have an extra-long sleep every now and then. Thats OK too. Unless your doctor or child and family health nurse has told you otherwise, theres no need to wake your baby for feeds.
And at night, a good option might be settling your baby straight back to sleep after feeds, rather than trying to play.
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Identifying Your Babys Sleep Habits
If you want to phase out your babys sleep habits, the first step is to work out what they are. For example, to settle for sleep your baby might need:
- a dummy
- music or a mobile above the cot
- breastfeeding or bottle-feeding
- cuddling or rocking
- a particular place in your home, like the family room.
When you know what your babys sleep habits are, the next step is to work on phasing them out. There are tips below for different baby sleep habits.
A positive bedtime routine helps your baby settle to sleep.
Make A Big Deal Of The Morning
When your baby wakes up in the morning, make a big deal out of it! Go in his room, sing a little good morning song, open up the blinds to let the sunlight in, change his diaper, and start the day. Your baby will start to see a difference between night feeds and that first morning feed and theyll learn that the day is starting when mom enters with a pep in her step!
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