Importance of Sleep Routine

Among the thousands of cares for babies and children to ensure a full and healthy development, the quality of sleep and the need to create a sleep routine is at the top.

Newborn babies sleep a lot and are expected to sleep for up to 18 hours out of every 24 in their first few weeks , but they don’t sleep straight. Newborn babies usually wake up every three hours to feed themselves day or night, which means that moms should prepare for a few sleepless nights, especially at the beginning.

Baby’s sleep cycles are much shorter than those of adults. Most of the time he stays in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is light and easily disturbed. This is necessary for the changes that are taking place in your brain.

Between six weeks and eight weeks, your baby will likely sleep for shorter periods during the day and during the night for longer periods. But you will still wake up to eat during the night . It will be a deeper and more peaceful sleep.

See the table below:

Age Total de Sono Awake time Bedtime Comments
Newborn Newborn Varies a lot It does not have Newborns need to eat frequently and will wake up all the time to feed, so a fixed sleep routine is meaningless at this age. Observe the baby’s signs of sleep carefully and put him to sleep with the first signs of tiredness.
1-4 months 14-15 hours From 1 to 2 months it varies a lot; From 3 to 4 months about 1 to 2 hours between naps The 20 as 23h When your baby is about 3 to 4 months old, put him to sleep a little later. Take the time to lie down at the same time as him. In this phase they sleep for a longer period, rest together, both will wake up more willing.
4-8 months 14-15 hours The average agreed time is 2 to 3 hours From 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Most babies create a sleep routine in about 6 months. Regular snoops start to be constant at this stage. (4 naps at first, and then gradually decrease to 3). Use the sleep routine earlier during the transition from 4 to 3 to avoid tiredness.
8-10 months 12-15 hours The average agreed time is about 3 hours The 19 as 20: 30h Most babies take 2 naps at this age.
10-15 months 12-14 hours The average agreed time is 3 to 4 hours The 19 as 20: 30h Continue with 2 naps, if possible; most babies are not prepared for the transition to just a nap until 1518 months. If the baby falls asleep naturally, use bedtime early to make up for lost sleep.
15 months to 3 years 12-14 hours The average agreed time is about 5 hours From 19:30 to 21:00 The child will go through the transition from just an afternoon nap when they reach 18 months. This sleep should be about 2 to 2.5 hours long. Use bedtime early during the transition from 2 naps to 1. At 2 years of age, it is recommended to use 8 pm as the first bedtime; Bedtime at 7:30 pm is most appropriate for younger children.
3-5 years 11-13 hours The average awake time is about 12 hours, if the child is in the preschool phase he / she no longer sleeps during the day The 20 as 21: 30h Most of the children gave up on the afternoon nap at this stage. Try to change your bedtime so that you can sleep for approximately 12 hours for children who are no longer asleep. Use bedtime later for children who are still getting away from the afternoon sleep.

* Average awake time refers to the amount of time your baby or child can be comfortably awake during the day, between sleepers.

Why do babies need a sleep routine?

As adults, babies need a sleep routine to simply relax from the day. It is difficult for someone to fall asleep after a busy day without some time to calm down.
Starting a ritual at bedtime while the baby is still a baby will not only make the sleep routine easier now, but it will also help as the baby moves into childhood.

Sleep Routine Benefits

The baby will be more relaxed if he knows what comes next. The more relaxed he is, the more likely he is to go to sleep without much effort. Make a sleep routine in the best possible way, even when you are not at home, this makes it easier to establish a peaceful sleep in unfamiliar environments.

How to Create a Sleep Routine

The baby can develop good sleeping habits from six weeks of birth . This is the point at which he starts to develop his natural rhythms throughout the day. It is the process that helps to regulate your sleep cycle and awake time.

The ideal is to establish a sleep routine from the 6th to the 8th week after birth, and adjust it as the baby grows. From the moment he starts to grow and understand the routine, explain why the changes. For example: “We are going to get up very early tomorrow for a trip, so you have to go to sleep early tonight.”

Recognize the Signs of Baby Tiredness

During the first 6 to 8 weeks of life, the baby is unlikely to be awake for more than two hours . If this happens, he will be very tired and irritated which will affect the time of rest.

During the baby’s first three months, the signs that he is sleepy are visible, just be aware of them which are:

  • Scratch the eyes
  • Pull the ear by hand
  • Give long blinks
  • Cry or whine
  • Staring at a point
  • Yawning and stretching
  • Losing interest in people or their toys
  • Stay quiet

It can also move the face away from moving objects or people, or bury the face in the mother’s breast. If you notice these or any other signs of drowsiness, try to place the baby in the crib. Don’t worry, in a while it will be easier to recognize the baby’s daily rhythms and patterns, and the clues he leaves mean he is ready to take a nap.

Show your baby the difference between night and day

From the second week of birth, it is possible to start showing the baby the difference between night and day.
During the day, when he is alert:

  • Change your clothes when the baby wakes up, this will help you understand that it is the beginning of a new day
  • Chat and interact as much as you can.
  • Sing while you feed it.
  • Keep the home and baby’s room ventilated and well-lit with sunlight
  • Let him hear the daily noises, like the radio or the washing machine.

At night:

  • Give him a warm bath
  • Put on your pajamas to mark the start of your sleep routine and show it is the end of the day.
  • Try not to talk to him while feeding him.
  • Keep the lights and noise down.

This should help you start to understand that the night is for sleeping.

Give your baby a chance to fall asleep alone

When the baby is about three months old, he can already fall asleep alone . Of course, it does not mean that you will do that. Bedtime is often frightening for the baby because he is separated from the people he loves most, his parents. This can make anxiety a problem in your sleep routine.

To encourage your baby to fit into the sleep routine, set aside 10 to 30 minutes, then you will have time to go through the sequence before bedtime. For babies, especially, it is better to create a simple routine: bath, diaper, breastfeed in an environment with low light and soft music.

Later, you can do something special with the child: read a book, pat your back or sing a lullaby . Your sleeping activities should take place in your room. It is important to teach the child that the bedroom is a pleasant place to stay, not just where he is “banned” at bedtime.

Therefore, the sleep routine should start there, not on the sofa or in the parents’ room , so you will know where you are going to sleep. But be prepared to do the same every time he wakes up at night.

Identify problem points

As the child grows up, parents are likely to experience some problems that accompany bedtime. Every child has his block when it comes to the sleep routine : whether to spend more time watching TV, not wanting to brush his teeth or complaining about his pajamas.

The best way to deal with these problems is to simply know that they are coming. Upon learning this, parents can get around them with fun ideas and thus find a way to make children understand in a gentle way that the sleep routine must be fulfilled.

Tips for Doing the Sleep Routine

Right time

The sleep routine should start at approximately the same time each night . It doesn’t have to be in the same minute, but make sure you are doing your sleep routine around the same time as the night before. After all, it will only be “routine” if it is always consistent!

Bath

For many babies, the sleep routine starts with a good warm bath , but it shouldn’t be that bath that over stimulates, with singing in the shower, splashing water, or full of toys in the bathtub, but a calm bath and, if possible with a short song.

Massage

A relaxing massage is ideal for the baby after bathing. Gently massage your arms and legs, using a moisturizer or baby oil , heated first in the palm of your hands. Use long, firm strokes and sing a lullaby.

A story

A bedtime story can help your baby calm down and prepare for sleep, and helps you enjoy the love of books from a very young age . From three months of age, babies will enjoy hearing a simple story before bed.

Milk

Give your baby one last feeding before he falls asleep, so he will have a full tummy to sleep through the night (or as much as possible). Try to keep him awake for a while after feeding him and before putting him to bed, for example, singing a song or kissing him good night. If you feed it to sleep, the baby may associate milk with sleep and may think that every time he wakes up during the night he has to eat again, even if he is not really hungry.

Environment I am

Make sure the room is dark and quiet, and the noise level in the house is low. If your child doesn’t like a completely dark room, turn on a small night light or leave the hall light on and the bedroom door half open.

Security object

Bedtime means separation, and it can be easier for children with a personal object, such as a doll , a teddy bear, or a blanket . It can provide a sense of security and control that comforts and reassures the child before falling asleep.

Fear of the dark

Many children, when they are growing up, are afraid of the dark . Psychologists think this may be because the mother turns off the light when she leaves the room, so darkness is associated with the feeling of being abandoned.

To avoid this, parents can turn off the light before leaving the room and stay for a while until the child is drowsy, or even create an environment that makes the dark a friendlier place . Many sleep problems can be avoided by creating positive associations with the dark.

What to do when the sleep routine changes?

Invariably, at some stage in the baby’s or child’s life, there will be factors that will significantly alter the sleep routine. Some of these factors are associated with:

  • A change of environment
  • Disease
  • Dentition
  • Separation anxiety
  • A new baby in the family

At times like these, parents may simply have to accept that the sleep routine they have created has gone down the drain, and take steps to restore it. The good news is that if they’ve had a solid routine before, they’re likely to be able to get back on track quickly.

Be flexible

Although the consistency of the sleep routine is essential, it should not be so rigid . A very severe ritual is unlikely to last very long, because as the baby grows, his needs also change, as do his likes and dislikes.

Parents will notice that the baby’s sleep routine that worked last week won’t calm him down for sleep this week, those night baths that used to be so calming, for example, could suddenly become a time of play and hyperactivity. Then you will need to change the bath time and try another technique that will work before sleeping.

“Be patient and persistent as your child learns his sleep routine, he will become more relaxed and the routine will be efficient.”

Are there any disadvantages to sleep routines?

Some parents feel that routines are not suitable for family life . Who can handle schedules without having to organize time for that. The main disadvantage is that the repetitive nature of a sleep routine can become tedious.

But remember, once your child sleeps at the right time, there will probably be time to take that relaxing bath, spread out on the couch and tune in to your favorite TV show in peace.

See Also: Should I Worry About Baby’s Sleep?

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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.

Dr. Alexis Hart

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.

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