Just like drinking water and eating, sleep is also essential to life . The body needs a good night’s sleep for its development and for memorizing the things that are learned throughout the day. All of this happens because it is when sleeping that body and mind rest and the energies are thus restored. So the feeling of renewal the next day when you sleep well.
However, before talking about why the baby does not sleep at night or during the day, it is necessary to first talk about the difference between an adult’s and a child’s sleep, especially when they are very young. Anyone who thinks that sleep is the same for all people is wrong. Some sleep more, others less, and some almost nothing, and with babies follow the same line. But the difference with adults is that they are in the development phase , and your body will therefore react in a peculiar way. Later on it will be explained better on how the baby’s sleep works .
As you may have noticed, the baby does not have a right time to sleep or wake up. As mentioned above it is a phase in which it is in constant development. The baby makes no distinction as to when it is day or night like adults. For adults, the day serves to do all activities and the night to slow down, rest and finally sleep. As for the baby, he still does not have this notion, so it is important that parents teach him until they adapt to this.
IMPORTANT: The baby in the first months of life does not distinguish between day and night, they are still unaware that the day has 24 hours.
The adult when sleeping goes through 5 stages of sleep that are stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (acronym for Rapid Eye Movement).
The first stage of sleep is when sleep is still light, that is, the person can be woken up very easily.
In the first phase, eye movements slow down, while in this second phase movements stop, brain activity decreases and the body relaxes.
After the two phases here, deep sleep begins. At this stage the person who sleeps will not wake up with any noise, as brain waves work with slow and fast waves.
Waking up someone who is in this phase is also not easy, it is the second phase of deep sleep. Brainwaves also work with slow and fast waves, with the first job being more constant in this phase.
REM – Rapid Eye Movement
When people dream, sleep is at this stage, at least most of them. Here the breathing becomes more accelerated, irregular and superficial. REM accounts for 20 percent of people’s sleep.
Going through all these phases of sleep is essential to have a healthy and willing life. A well-slept night’s sleep reflects directly on the person’s day-to-day life , and if the opposite occurs, they can easily be irritated. Poor sleep quality will further increase predispositions to other illnesses and memory failures. It is very important to sleep well and without interruption, especially if you are in the two phases of deep sleep, as it is in these two phases that when you wake up suddenly, the person is indisposed during the rest of the day.
After the brief explanation of the phases of sleep, we can now talk about the baby’s sleep. It is already known that a baby’s sleep is different from an adult’s sleep, as the first is in development.
The baby’s sleep has shorter cycles, which is sleeping and waking up more frequently, in the first months the duration is around 50 and 60 minutes, which is why the baby sleeps little.
Baby Sleep Cycles
There are only two cycles in the baby’s sleep: active sleep and peaceful sleep :
In this phase, babies wake up more easily, their sleep is in the REM stage, and it is in this stage that the first three months pass.
In this phase of sleep the brain waves are slow, babies are in a deep sleep, as breathing becomes rhythmic and there is almost no movement, either of the body or of the eyes.
Since the baby has only two sleep cycles, peaceful sleep is therefore the last cycle. The baby wakes up many times during the night, but will soon go back to sleep, most of the time this occurs, as it is natural. The two sleep cycles are short cycles that last around 100 minutes, but as they grow, the body adapts and develops, having other stages of sleep, like adults.
But, in addition to this functioning that is natural in the baby’s sleep, other factors can also influence them to not sleep properly. The baby never wakes up or cries without a reason , usually when they wake up and cry it is because they are hungry, with a dirty diaper or in pain, for example.
For hunger, this happens because your stomach is still very small and cannot store enough food to last all night, so you wake up in a short space of time.
Main Causes of Baby Not Sleeping
Childhood is a long time of learning, development and especially adaptation. So babies can suffer or react differently from others during these phases. The amount of hours you sleep as well as the quality of your sleep can also vary for some reasons.
The baby, especially when he is very young does not distinguish the time, if it is day, if it is night, if it is time to eat or sleep. Slowly he starts to adapt to the day and its 24 hours, usually this adaptation phase starts from 3 months, and this is where he starts to sleep more at night.
Separation anxiety or anguish Separation
anxiety is when the child, who is around 6 months old, is already able to have a notion and recognize both things and people around him, making him miss what he already recognizes.
That is why the baby cries when the mother or father is not around or when he is alone, because he misses them, and even though the parents are not there in his field of vision, he can already be aware that they exist.
More motor and cognitive coordination
Babies tend to become more resistant to sleep when they learn to sit , crawl or walk , usually occurring from 5 months onwards. They are more agitated and excited because everything becomes new to him and they think that every time is time to play or that they simply shouldn’t sleep, and they are “fighting” against sleep.
In this phase the baby develops quickly, and consequently his appetite also increases, resulting in a greater consumption of milk. It usually occurs in the baby’s first year of life.
Tips for Getting Baby to Sleep
Babies may not have a sense of the time, especially when they are very young. But that does not mean that there is no way to make them sleep more easily and for more hours. Below are some tips:
- Try to establish a routine – It is important to establish a routine for your baby to make him understand when it is time to sleep and when it is time to stay awake. During the day play with him, do activities that encourage him to participate too. Another important tip is when doing things in the house, include it in what you can. And the night slows down, slow things down for him, and if possible, make the environment darker so that he begins to realize when it is day and when it is night creating the sleep routine .
- Bathe the baby – Before putting him to sleep bathing him can help him relax more easily, making it easier when you put him on.
- Put him to sleep when he is tired – Do not try to force your baby to sleep if he is not sleepy, he may be even more agitated and will thus be hard to fall asleep.
- Get a massage – A great tip is to give your baby a massage right after you have bathed him. It will help you to be more relaxed.
- Make habits when you put him to sleep – Always do the same things when you put your baby to sleep. Like reading stories, dimming the room, singing lullabies or rocking him in your arms.
How Long Does Adaptation Take
The adaptation of the baby in relation to sleep is not established from day to night, because, as has been said, they still do not have this notion of when it is day or when it is night, and therefore do not make reference to it at bedtime.
This sleep adaptation can take months and will count on the patience, affection and care of the parents to be successful. Each baby has his time and some sleep more at night and others more during the day, not yet establishing a correct order for that.
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See also: Shantala and Baby’s Sleep
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.