Recognizing A Baby’s Sleep Patterns by Adwina Jackson
It’s true, the number one milestone most parents seek look forward to is the day (or night) their newborn starts sleeping through the night. You don’t have to suffer endless night after night without sleep however, even with a newborn.
Baby’s actually follow certain sleep patterns, and if you get to know what these patterns are you’ll start sleeping more soundly and better the times you do have a chance to get some sleep! Baby’s don’t actually sleep at the same intervals adults do. They actually sleep very unsoundly. Their sleep is full of interruptions because their sleep cycle is not yet fully developed, thus they wake more often during the night.
Generally grown adults spend about six hours every night in deep sleep. This is the really restful phase of sleep you require to feel fresh and new in the morning. Usually time permitting another 2 hours are spent in light sleep. Baby’s generally have twice as many light sleep cycles as adults though, and their deep sleep cycles are much shorter than adults.
Baby’s also have to LEARN how to fall back asleep, it is not a skill that comes naturally. Whereas adults might zonk out the moment their head hits the pillow, a baby will actually lie there looking for something to soothe them back to sleep. Newborn’s actually sleep a lot, approximately 16 to 18 hours every day, but they don’t enjoy this sleep all at the same time.
Most baby’s will sleep in increments of only two to three hour intervals. Sometimes their internal sleep clocks are also confused from being in the womb, and they mistakenly believe that night is day and day is night. This means that they’ll spend more of their time sleeping during the day than at night!
Here’s the good news, your baby’s sleep patterns will eventually changes, usually by about the time they are 12 weeks old. They will start sleeping about 14-16 hours per day, and many of those hours will be spent sleeping at night.
What can you do in the meantime to feel more refreshed?
– Sleep when your baby sleeps. No matter what time of day, take a nap whenever your baby does catch some zzz’s.
– Open the blinds and keep things bright during the day. This will help change your baby’s clock around so they spend more of their time sleeping at night and not during the day.
– Sleep near your baby at night. This will help comfort them and allow them to sleep more easily. There are many co-sleeper products available that allow you to sleep with your baby safely at night. Consider trying one until your baby is about 12 weeks old, when they are old enough to start sleeping on their own.
– You can teach your baby to be a good sleeper with a little time and a little patience, armed with a little bit of knowledge about their sleep patterns!
Adwina Jackson is a wife and mother of a young boy. She’s also the editor of Inspiring Parenting, an online source of valuable parenting information.