Adult Sleep Cycle: How You Sleep
Second, though you both cycle between periods of deep sleep and shorter stints of light REM cycle sleep, your baby does so many more times throughout the night. For you, deep sleep can persist up to 90 minutes at a time. For your baby, it may not last an hour. Therefore, much of his or her sleep is comprised of light sleep, often accounting for more than half of their recommended 13-18 hours of shuteye.
When adults complete a sleep cycle and shift to the next cycle, we might briefly wake up or come close to waking up. The other difference between our cycles and baby’s is that when we’re shifting from one cycle to the next we might wake up, but we almost immediately fall back asleep. Think about how youll barely wake in the middle of the night and shift positions or open your eyes for a split second before falling right back to sleep.
Infants, however, will wake up during that shift and probably need your help to get back to sleep. This skill is learned, and until your baby can fall asleep independently, they won’t be able to sleep through the night. The baby sleep chart below shows how your baby cycles through the stages of sleep much quicker than adults.
Why You Should Swaddle Your Newborn For Sleep
To prevent the Moro Reflex or startle reflex from waking them.
The Moro and startle reflexes are natural reflexes that healthy babies are born with. Yeah for your healthy baby! It turns your sleeping little beauty into a startled starfish. Deep sleep to awake in seconds! Hence the swaddle.
Newborns need to feed frequently
But how often?
The first table below is a good rule of thumb for the TOTAL feeds your baby is likely to need in a 24 hour period .
Key is to MAXIMIZE the number of feeds during the daytime hours in order to MINIMIZE the number of feeds your baby will need during nighttime hours .
So, you want your baby to feed every few hours between the daytime hours of 7am and 7pm, as in the second table.
Ive incorporated these tables into a handy pin sized image so you can pin it and refer back to it easily.
Where it says every 2 hours, this time is from the beginning of one feed to the beginning of the next. So, if your baby took 45 mins to feed then theres only 1 hour 15 mins until your baby is likely to want to feed again.
THIS IS CRUCIAL you want your baby to feed frequently IN THE DAY in order to get longer stretches at night. If your baby is asleep when due a feed, wake that baby up!
If you find your baby is feeding more frequently than this you may want to try encouraging baby to take a bigger feed.
Put Your Sleepy Baby To Bed
Starting when your baby is 6 to 12 weeks old, soothe them until they are drowsy. When they are on the verge of sleep, put them down and let them drift off on their own. Don’t wait until they are fully asleep in your arms this could be a behavior that may become a struggle to get rid of later in their life.
This routine will teach your baby to soothe themselves to sleep, and you won’t need to rock or cuddle them to sleep every time they wake up during the night.
If your baby has trouble settling down, try moving their bedtime earlier, not later. Being overtired can make it hard to nod off.
Also Check: Why Is My Newborn Crying All Day
Sleep Problems: 6 Months Old And Up
These days your babys sleep pattern likely looks a whole lot different than it did just a few short months ago.
At 6 months, your baby should clock 10 to 11 hours of sleep at night and take two or three naps during the day.
Whats more, babies who are 6 months old and up are completely capable of sleeping through the night. And yet, there are still plenty of things that can disrupt their snooze time.
Newborn Sleep Patterns: A Survival Guide
As every parent knows, the world of newborn sleep is exotic and strange.
Babies rack up lots of sleep overall, averaging 16-18 hours a day during the first two weeks.
Yet they awaken frequently, and rarely sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch, even at night. Their internal clocks arent yet synchronized with the external, 24-hour day.
Its a recipe for exhaustion, but understanding the science of sleep can help you cope, and avoid mistakes that can delay your childs development of more mature sleep rhythms.
In this article, youll learn about
- fundamental differences between newborn sleep and adult sleep
- circadian rhythms, and how you can help your baby get in sync with the natural day
- sleep cycles in the newborn, and how to work around them
- tips for preventing newborns from waking up and
- advice for improving your own sleep.
Throughout, I focus on babies under four weeks of age. For information about older infants, see my article on baby sleep patterns.
Read Also: When Do You First Bathe A Newborn
A New Doctor A Boatload Of Supplements
With this perfect cocktail, she had taken her son from frequent hospital stays for his asthma, to not even needing meds.
For the first time ever, he started sleeping through the night about two out of every seven nights. Progress!
What Are The Different Alert Phases Of A Newborn
Babies also have differences in how alert they are during the time they are awake. When a newborn awakens at the end of the sleep cycles, there is typically a quiet alert phase. This is a time when the baby is very still, but awake and taking in the environment. During the quiet alert time, babies may look or stare at objects, and respond to sounds and motion. This phase usually progresses to the active alert phase in which the baby is attentive to sounds and sights, and moves actively. After this phase is a crying phase. The baby’s body moves erratically, and he or she may cry loudly. Babies can easily be overstimulated during the crying phase. It is usually best to find a way of calming the baby and the environment. Holding a baby close or swaddling may help calm a crying baby.
It is usually best to feed babies before they reach the crying phase. During the crying phase, they can be so upset that they may refuse the breast or bottle. In newborns, crying is a late sign of hunger.
You May Like: How Often To Give Newborn Formula
What About You Tips For Improving Your Own Sleep
Newborn sleep patterns take their toll on parents. In a study tracking the sleep patterns of mothers from pregnancy through the postpartum period, maternal sleep worsened after childbirth and continued to deteriorate until about 12 weeks postpartum -the time when newborn sleep patterns begin to show marked circadian rhythms .
Twelve weeks isnt forever, but it can seem like it when you are severely sleep restricted. As you struggle to cope with newborn sleep patterns, dont forget to look after yourself. Here are some tips to help you cope.
What Sleeping Positions Are Best For A Newborn
Research has found a link between sudden infant death syndrome and babies who sleep on their stomach .
Experts now agree that putting a baby to sleep or down for a nap on his or her back is the safest position. Side-sleeping has a higher risk for SIDS than back sleeping. Other reports have found soft surfaces, loose bedding, and overheating with too many blankets also increase the risk for SIDS. When infants are put to sleep on their stomach and they also sleep on soft bedding, the risk for SIDS is even higher. Smoking by the mother is also a risk for SIDS, as are poor prenatal care and prematurity. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics made the “back-to-sleep” recommendation in 1992, the SIDS rate has dropped more than 50%.
Back sleeping also appears to be safer for other reasons. There is no evidence that babies are more likely to vomit or spit up while sleeping on their back. In fact, choking may be more likely in the prone position.
A task force of The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the AAP, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development offer the following recommendations for infant bedding:
The AAP recommends that parents room share but not bed share. The report advises the following:
To prevent overheating, the report recommends that the infant should be lightly clothed for sleep and the room temperature kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Avoid overbundling, and check the baby’s skin to make sure it is not hot to the touch.
Recommended Reading: Why Do Newborns Not Sleep
Sleep Myth : Later To Bed = Baby Sleeps Later In The Morning
Sleeping inits wishful thinking for many parents. Actually, the thought that babies will sleep later if put to bed later is a common myth. Babies sleep better, longer, and cry less if they are put to bed early in the evening. Babies who go to sleep late in the evening are often over tired, even though they seem to have energy.
Look for your babys sleep signals that show when she is tired. Seize the moment before the sleepy window has passed. The first signs of tirednesseye rubbing, yawning, slowing downshould signal a transition to the bedtime routine. This may occur as early as 6:00 or 7:00 pm for babies.
Change Your Babys Diaper Strategically
Changing the diaper before a middle of the night feeding prevents the baby from waking up too much after a feeding is finished. When the baby wakes up change the diaper and re-swaddle to prepare him for sleep immediately following a night feeding. If you change the diaper after the night feeding, the baby may become too awake, making it more challenging for him to fall asleep.
Now, Ive also heard from parents of very young newborn babies sharing that the baby poops right after a night feeding. This is very common during the early newborn phase when babies are still working out the flow of their digestive tracts.
If your baby is consistently stooling after a night feeding, then certainly, just wait to change the diaper until after the feed. Once your babys gut matures and he or she stops stooling immediately after a night feed, you can go back to changing the diaper before the feed.
Also Check: How To Treat Jaundice In Newborns At Home
How To Get A Newborn To Sleep Through The Night
This article was co-authored by Laura Marusinec, MD. Dr. Marusinec is a board certified Pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she is on the Clinical Practice Council. She received her M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1995 and completed her residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Pediatrics in 1998. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Society for Pediatric Urgent Care. This article has been viewed 184,333 times.
Most parents have newborn babies that cannot sleep through the night. This is completely normal even if it is exhausting to you as a parent. By setting up daily and nightly routines and managing your expectations, both you and your newborn can eventually get a full night of sleep, However, since newborns usually feed every two to three hours, you should not expect to get a full night’s sleep for a few months.
Here Are The 5 Ways For How To Get Baby To Sleep Through The Night
1. Keep Them Well Rested. A well rested baby accepts sleep easier and has an easier time transitioning sleep cycles. You want to make sure baby is on a schedule where they do not get overtired. How do you know how many naps your baby should be on? This varies by age.
We have some great schedules for you to follow for ages 4-6 months:
2. Create a Good Sleep Environment
Blackout Curtains are the best investment you can make for sleep. A dark environment helps your baby sleep better, particularly for naps or an early morning waker. We use a blackout curtain that you place behind your curtain and it blocks out additional light and noise.
White Noise if you have a loud house or loud street, white noise can help block out those sounds and keep a constant sound that wont interrupt or wake your baby. Particularly for a newborn, white noise can be very comforting as they even have sounds that mimic sounds they heard in the womb like your heart beating. The Cloud B Sleep Sheep is a great option as it comes with 8 sound options including a heartbeat.
Temperature we all sleep better when we are at a comfortable temperature. Make sure your baby is not sweating or has too many layers as this can wake them up in between sleep cycles. Check their back to ensure it is not sweaty.
Other Baby Resources
Don’t Miss: Why Does My Newborn Spit Up So Much
Stick To An Appropriate Bedtime
Putting your baby to sleep later in the hopes that theyll sleep later in the morning most likely wont work. If youre following a schedule, its important to keep a regular bedtime for your little one to keep them on track and to help your baby sleep at more appropriate times. Remember, newborns dont have a set bedtime, because theyre just sleeping whenever they need to. But around 3 months old, you can start to establish a healthy bedtime to accompany your sleep schedule.
Helping Your Newborn Sleep
Newborns follow their own schedule. Over the next couple of weeks to months, you and your baby will begin to settle into a routine.
It may take a few weeks for your baby’s brain to know the difference between night and day. Unfortunately, there are no tricks to speed this up, but it helps to keep things quiet and calm during middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes. Try to keep the lights low and resist the urge to play with or talk to your baby. This will send the message that nighttime is for sleeping. If possible, let your baby fall asleep in the crib at night so your little one learns that it’s the place for sleep.
Don’t try to keep your baby up during the day in the hopes that he or she will sleep better at night. Overly tired infants often have more trouble sleeping at night than those who’ve had enough sleep during the day.
If your newborn is fussy it’s OK to rock, cuddle, and sing as your baby settles down. Swaddling can also help to soothe a crying baby. For the first months of your baby’s life, “spoiling” is definitely not a problem.
Also Check: How Many Newborn Pajamas Do I Need