Why Do Newborns Sleep So Much

Reasons Why Babies Sleep So Much And When To Worry

Why do babies sleep so much? – Fun Facts for Kids

Eat, sleep, look cute, repeat! This is all a baby seems to do during the first crucial months. A newborn needs to sleep and feed adequately to thrive and attain their milestones on time.

However, newborns do not sleep and wake up in the same pattern, as it takes time for them to get adjusted to life outside the womb. An irregular sleep schedule might make new parents wonder if their baby is sleeping too much, and, in some cases, it could be a cause for concern.

In this post, we tell you how to know if your baby is sleeping too much, the possible reasons behind it, and when it is a cause for concern.

Where Should Our Newborn Sleep

Your newborn can sleep in a bassinet or a crib. This can be located in a parents room, a siblings room or in the newborns own room. Its important that you have your baby sleep in a safe place. Your baby should not sleep in your bed with you. This is dangerous because of the risk of suffocation, strangulation and sudden infant death syndrome .

You can bring the baby into your bed for feedings, but should return the baby to a crib as soon as you are done. Many experts recommend feeding your child while in a chair to avoid any injury that can happen while sleeping in a bed with the baby. Room-sharing with your baby is recommended, but not bed-sharing.

Helps Them Learn Better

Did you know that babies learn even while theyre sleeping? During a study, sleeping babies were exposed to a sequence of sounds that was played repeatedly and this recording was occasionally interspersed with a strange sound. The brainwaves of the infants indicated that they reacted with surprise to the strange sound. That is, they processed information about the environment and used it to form new neuronal pathways for learning while they were asleep.6

Sleep plays a role in memory consolidation and helps your baby learn better. One study taught 15-month-old babies an artificial language. It was found that the group that took a nap between the teaching of the language and the test that followed not only remembered word pairings that were taught but were also able to learn abstract relations between those words . They were able to recognize those rules in new word pairings as well. The babies that did not nap, on the other hand, only remembered the word pairings that were taught. So sleep may qualitatively improve your babys learning.7

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What Are The Signs Of Infant Sleep Problems

Once a baby begins to regularly sleep through the night, parents are often unhappy when the baby starts to wake up at night again. This often happens at about 6 months old. This is often a normal part of development called separation anxiety. This is when a baby does not understand that separations are short-term . Babies may also start to have trouble going to sleep because of separation anxiety. Or because they are overstimulated or overtired.

Common responses of babies having these night awakenings or trouble going to sleep may include the following:

  • Waking and crying one or more times in the night after sleeping through the night

  • Crying when you leave the room

  • Refusing to go to sleep without a parent nearby

  • Clinging to the parent at separation

Sleep problems may also happen with illness. Talk with your baby’s healthcare provider if your baby begins having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, especially if this is a new pattern.

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Why Do Babies Sleep So Much? It
  • Newborns generally sleep 12 to 16 hours in a 24-hour period and do not know the difference between day and night.
  • Newborns need regular feeding, so they usually sleep in short periods.
  • Newborns sleep in short bursts, known as sleep cycles which are usually around 20 to 50 minutes long.
  • In the first three months of life, babies cry a lot it is their main way of communicating.
  • From approximately two weeks to three to four months of age, newborns go through a stage of increased crying, which will be at its worst at 6 to 8 weeks of age.

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References: What Scientific Studies Say About Newborn Sleep

Anders TF. 1979. Night-waking in infants during the first year of life. Pediatrics 63: 860-864.

Bennett C, Underdown A, and Barlow J. 2013. Massage for promoting mental and physical health in typically developing infants under the age of six months. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30 4:CD005038. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005038.pub3.

Cheruku SR, Montgomery-Downs HE, Farkas SL, Thoman EB, and Lammi-Keefe CJ. 2002. Higher maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy is associated with more mature neonatal sleep-state patterning. Am J Clin Nutr 76:608-13.

Cubero J, Valero V, Sánchez J, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2005. The circadian rhythm of tryptophan in breast milk affects the rhythms of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and sleep in newborn. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 26:657-61.

Cubero J, Narciso D, Terrón P, Rial R, Esteban S, Rivero M, Parvez H, Rodríguez AB, Barriga C. 2007. Chrononutrition applied to formula milks to consolidate infants sleep/wake cycle. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 28:360-6.

Custodio RJ, Junior CE, Milani SL, Simões AL, de Castro M, Moreira AC. 2007. The emergence of the cortisol circadian rhythm in monozygotic and dizygotic twin infants: the twin-pair synchrony. Clin Endocrinol . 66:192-7.

Dement W and Vaughan C. 1999. The promise of sleep. New York: Random House.

Doan T, Gardiner A, Gay CL, Lee KA. 2007 Breast-feeding increases sleep duration of new parents. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 21:200-6.

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How Long Do Newborn Babies Sleep For

Babies sleep a lot. In fact, for the first few weeks, babies sleep for most of the day and night. Theyll sleep for around 16 to 18 hours in every 24 .

“Babies need so much sleep because they have so much new information to process. They are also growing and developing at a fast rate.”

Unfortunately, it might not feel like theyre sleeping for quite that long. Thats because they’re likely to doze off in short bursts of a couple of hours and there’s not yet a pattern to their sleep .

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Common Reasons Why Your Newborn Won’t Sleep

If you’re struggling to sort out why your infant won’t close their eyes, it can be due to an array of issues, not because they enjoy seeing you pull your hair out. Your child needs zzz’s just as much as you, and it’s usually due to feelings of frustration caused by an issue that can often be helped. Below we discuss what you can do.

General Baby Sleep Guidelines

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So, how much sleep does your baby need? Here are some general guidelines for how many hours the average baby sleeps at night and naps during the day.

The total time may fluctuate as much as 2 hours, and the number of naps may be flexible as well. Since newborns do not yet have an internal biological clock or circadian rhythm, their sleep patterns are not related to the daylight and nighttime cycles. In fact, they tend not to have much of a pattern at all.

While there’s no need to rigidly follow a schedule, it can give you an idea of what to expect of your baby’s sleep habits.

  • Newborns: 8 1/2 hours of sleep at night 3 naps totaling 7 hours 15-1/2 hours sleep total
  • 3 months: 10 hours of sleep at night 3 naps totaling 5 hours 15 hours sleep total
  • 6 months: 11 hours of sleep at night 2 naps totaling 3 1/4 hours 14-1/4 hours sleep total
  • 9 months: 11 hours of sleep at night 2 naps totaling 3 hours 14 hours sleep total
  • 12 months: 11-1/4 hours of sleep at night 2 naps totaling 2 1/2 hours 13-3/4 hours sleep total

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Newborn Sleep: How Much And When

Babies need sleep to grow and develop well. For newborns this is usually 14-17 hours in every 24 hours. But sleep patterns can vary a lot.

Newborns usually sleep in short bursts of 2-3 hours each. Some newborns sleep for up to four hours at a time. Newborns wake frequently to feed because they have tiny tummies. Your newborn might go straight back to sleep after feeding or they might stay awake long enough for a short play.

Some newborns get tired after being awake for 1-1½ hours. Some stay awake and alert longer.

Newborns sleep during the day and night. They dont know that people sleep at night. The parts of their brains that control day-night sleep cycles havent matured yet.

Newborn play might just be a quiet cuddle or some time stretching out and kicking on a blanket. You might find that 10-20 minutes of play is enough for your newborn. You can increase playtime as your baby gets older and stays awake for longer.

How To Help Your Newborn Sleep

Overstimulation during the day can cause your baby to either sleep too little, or sleep when they should be eating, due to exhaustion. Your baby can also become overtired if they stay awake too long in between naps, which usually causes them to become very fussy and harder to settle for sleep. Heres how you can help your newborn sleep and begin instilling healthy sleep habits:

1. Teach the difference between night and day: If you have a baby who seems to sleep a lot during the day, but is wide awake come bedtime, it could be a sign that theyre getting their days and nights confused. Remember to keep night times dark and calm with little activity. Following a consistent bedtime routine helps them understand when its night and time for bed. You can have a similar routine before naps, but make it a shortened version.

2. Create a soothing environment: Adding white noise, light-blocking curtains, and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature will help your baby sleep better.

3. Cultivate a consistent bed time routine: It consists of feeding, swaddling, shushing, swaying and the proceeding to sleep.

4. Develop healthy sleep habits: Put your baby to sleep drowsy, but awake. This tip is crucial to helping your baby learn good sleeping habits starting at around 3.5 – 4 months and throughout their first year.

The Zen Swaddle® helps your baby get the sleep she needs with it’s patented weighted design.

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How Should Babies Sleep

During the first weeks of a baby’s life, some parents choose to room-share. Room-sharing is when you place your baby’s crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet in your own bedroom instead of in a separate nursery. This keeps baby nearby and helps with feeding, comforting, and monitoring at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing without bed-sharing.

While room-sharing is safe, putting your infant to sleep in bed with you is not.Bed-sharing increases the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths.

Follow these recommendations for a safe sleep environment for your little one:

How Long Will My Newborn Sleep

Why Do Babies Sleep So Much? Here are 3 Proven Reasons Why ...

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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Reasons Babies Sleep So Much And Why You Should Let Them

When your baby is asleep, they arent just resting up! Mother nature has programmed this period for intense growth and development milestones.

Now that your bundle of joy is home, you might be surprised to discover just how much time they spend sleeping. If your baby is missing mealtimes or sleeping through the din of your household and you are losing sleep over this, take a breather! Sleep has an important place in your babys day and can influence their development and growth. In fact, more than half of the first year of your babys life will be spent sleeping. Heres why you need to make sure they get all those forty winks and then some. Sleep in the first years after birth:

Helps With Neurosensory Development

The central nervous system develops most dramatically in the first 2 years after birth and sleep aids this growth.2

Sleep is also important for the proper development of the neurosensory system of your baby. Your babys neurosensory system is stimulated from within when they are asleep. This is known as endogenous stimulation and alludes to discharges from neurons that may not be associated with the external environment of the baby. These discharges are important for the normal development of the neurosensory system which includes visual, auditory, touch, and vestibular systems as they create connections between brain structures and sensory organs. Endogenous stimulation happens only during a stage of sleep known as REM sleep. Animal studies have even found that interfering with REM sleep can result in abnormalities in the development of these structures and systems. For instance, animal studies show that early REM sleep deprivation can lead to underdevelopment of the visual system. This is because it impairs the formation of connections between a part of your brain known as the lateral geniculate nucleus and the retinal ganglion cells. These cells normally carry light which has been converted to electrical signals by photoreceptors in your eyes to the lateral geniculate nucleus.3

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Babys Development Demands Sleep

Sleep is crucial for a newborns mental and physical development, especially the development of their brain and central nervous system.

During certain stages of sleep levels of growth hormones rise, meaning newborns need plenty of opportunities to move through deep sleep and active sleep.

When baby is in active sleep, their body is relaxed but their mind is busy and developing this is also when you might luck out and get one of those adorable sleep-induced smiles.

During deep sleep baby goes through four stages: stage one of NREM consists of drowsiness, with baby possibly opening and closing their eyes and appearing to be lightly drowsing stage two is when baby may startle and cry out, causing parents to think baby is awake when really theyre just working their way deeper into sleep stages three and four consist of baby being in a very deep sleep where they rarely move or make any sounds.

A study done at Emory University found that when babies sleep patterns changed, a growth spurt would usually follow. Emory study participants were 43% more likely to experience a spurt in growth for each extra nap they took, and 20% more likely to grow for every extra hour of sleep they had. These babies got longer and heavier when they slept more, leading the studys lead author to determine that growth spurts occur during sleep and are greatly impacted by sleep.

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