How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?
You have probably asked yourself so many times how many hours does my baby need to sleep? You wonder whether your baby is sleeping too much or, on the contrary, sleeping too little. Those wonderings are completely normal and common. This is why we have written this article as a comprehensive guide on baby sleep, what you need to do, and how babies can benefit from a good sleep.
One great feeling you would experience as a parent is your baby’s soundly sleeping. Maybe, it would give you some time to relax or finish the mounting chores you have to get to. That’s not it though, your baby’s sleeping does not only give you some ‘you’ time, but it also plays an important role in your baby’s development.
Importance of Baby Sleep
Sleep is abundant among newborns! In the beginning, babies will sleep more than they will be awake. Rest assured that your baby’s sleeping greatly contributes to the physical and mental development of your little pumpkin. As such, the importance of baby sleep cannot be undermined.
Baby sleep is linked to overall cognitive development as well as specific cognitive processes, such as memory, language, and executive function in a child's development, including cognition and physical growth. Because it aids in brain maturation and memory consolidation, adequate and quality sleep may favor good cognitive performance in youngsters. Slow-wave sleep, often known as deep sleep, is necessary for memory consolidation, which may be important for early language learning. Slow-wave sleep also contributes to body length gain by releasing growth hormones.
Getting enough sleep is critical for your baby’s growth because it is during this time that they can process their new experiences and skills and wake up ready to learn more.
Normal Sleep Schedule for Babies
How much sleep is required naturally varies from one age group to the other? A newborn spends around 70% of their day sleeping!
Below is a chart that outlines a normal sleep schedule from birth until the age of 2:
|Age||Total Sleep Hours||Night Time Sleep Hours||Day Time Sleep Hours|
|Newborn||16 hours||8 to 9||8|
|1 - 3 month||15.5 hours||8 to 9||7|
|3 - 6 months||15 hours||9 to 10||4 - 5|
|6 - 9 months||14 hours||10||4|
|9 - 12 months||14 hours||11||3|
|12 - 18 months||14 hours||11||3|
|18 - 24 months||13.5 hours||11||2.5|
|24 months||13 hours||11||2|
Remember, the type of activities done throughout the day, how exhausted the child is, and the weather, among other factors, contributes to the child’s sleeping schedule. Many factors also contribute to your little one’s ability to sleep soundly. Thus, some babies might have trouble sleeping.
Signs of Sleep Deficit in Babies
Little ones can develop physiological problems, like high blood pressure, weight gain, or obesity, as well as mental health difficulties, like depression and anxiety, if they do not get enough sleep for a long time.
So, watch out for these signs to determine whether your baby is suffering from sleep deficit:
- Lack of interest or participation in previously enjoyed activities
- Irritability or difficulty regulating emotions
- Headache, nausea, or stomachache
- Inability to sustain attention
- Experiencing difficulty in waking up in the morning
Why is my Baby having Trouble Sleeping?
Your baby might be having trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons, including
- separation anxiety,
- scheduling issues,
- and transitioning to the crib, among other factors.
Once you have eliminated all these factors that might impact your baby’s sleeping, yet still find your baby having trouble, please make sure you consult your health care professional. Your doctor will be able to provide you with guidance and eliminate any health concern.
What can I do to Help my Baby Sleep Better?
For some, putting the baby to sleep might be a daunting task. That is why, it is always best to set the stage for a successful sleeping routine for your baby. Sleep routines are beneficial because they can help babies and little ones go to bed sooner, fall asleep faster, have fewer overnight awakenings, and sleep for longer periods of time.
To begin with, you need to recognize indicators of sleep readiness in your infant, train them to go asleep on their own, and console them when they wake up. Your baby may indicate that they are ready to sleep by rubbing their eyes, yawning, or, simply, fussing.
To improve your baby’s quality of sleep, consider the tips below:
- Go to bed and wake-up at the same hour every day
- Exercise throughout the day
- Make sure that the bedroom is dark and quiet
- Stay away from sugary drinks or refined sugar
- Avoid screen time at all costs, especially for babies and toddlers
- Assist your baby in winding down before bed time through following a bed time ritual such as reading a bed-time story or listening to baby sleep songs
- Role model good sleeping habits
- Massage your baby with baby oil to help them relax
In conclusion, babies’ needs in terms of sleep vary and how they respond to troublesome sleep cycles might impact their development. As a caregiver, make sure to provide your little pumpkin with an environment that is conducive to a successful sleeping routine. We wish your little one nothing less than beautiful dreams!