Sleep is an important part of everyone’s life, you and your baby alike. The only bit is that the sleeping patterns of adults and children are different. In order for you to understand if your baby is having enough and comfortable sleep, you have to understand the baby sleep cycles.
I bet this is not all that easy since most of the time they vary greatly from day to day. Understanding the baby sleep cycles will help you as a parent to make sure that your baby gets enough sleep to grow up healthy. Read on and learn some facts about your baby’s naptime, as well as baby sleep cycles.
Understanding the Baby Sleep Cycles
Every time we get to our beds in the night, both adults and children experience sleep cycles of deep light and deep sleeps. At the early part of the night, both children and adults experience the deep sleep. The cycle then changes, and by morning, a big portion of the population experiences light sleep.
For children, their deep sleep and light sleep lasts for at least 30 minutes and 50 minutes if extends to the longest time possible. As the child grows, the time spans for the light, and deep sleep cycles will gradually increase throughout her childhood.
I bet you have noted that the sleep cycles for babies differ a lot in children, just as the time they take before they are fully asleep. You could be lucky to have a baby who falls asleep very quickly or another one who spends quite some time, say 20 minutes after muttering and fidgeting a lot.
In between the naps, as she transits from one sleep cycle to the other, your baby will wake for some time. If this happens, you need not be afraid that its sleep regression. It is perfectly normal, and every child experiences that. Train your child to be an independent sleeper so that she can put herself back to sleep rather than calling out for you.
What is Sleep Regression?
Before I became a parent to my two pretty girls, I always heard of sleep regression but never bothered finding out what it was. Parenthood got me reading tons of books, just to be sure that my firstborn was okay with her frequent awakenings at night. Who else wants to know more about baby sleep regression? What do you know about baby sleep regression by the way?
This is a period of time when a baby who has been sleeping very well starts waking up in the night, very many times, more than what can be said to be normal. In the worst case scenario, she may be skipping naps for no reason.
It is not something that you can predict, so if it occurs, you will certainly be caught off guard. Parenting has very many wonderful things associated with it, just as it has some very little bad things. Sleep regression is one of the downsides of parenting.
The Changing Sleep Cycles over Time
- At Birth
At this time, you will want to keep checking on your little one. It happens to be the most tedious time of parenting. Your baby has light sleep since babies are programmed to have tons of light naps and equally as many awakenings compared to adults.
- 6 Months and Below
All these little ones do is eat, play and sleep. Playtime probably takes a very small portion of their day, which means that they will be on and off sleep throughout the days and nights for quite some time.
When your baby attains the age of three months, you will have noted a sleep cycle. For the daytime naps, she will have 2 or three daytime naps which last for up to 2 hours. At night, the number of awakenings will have reduced to probably once or twice. Mummy will have started enjoying bliss and tons of rest time.
- 6 – 12 months
Within these months, your baby will have made very many development milestones which you just can’t help but marvel about. At night, your little pumpkin will be having tons of uninterrupted sleep for a very long time. For most babies within this age gap, they take a generous nap from 6 pm to 10 pm.
During this time, you can perform your duties with no fear of hearing a baby’s cry after every 30 minutes. Once she wakes up, feeding will be due. Most babies can easily get themselves back to sleep, while others will need their usual prop to fall asleep. This highly depends on how you have trained yours.
About 90 percent of babies still have their daytime naps. For the daytime naps, most of them sleep for a period less than one hour, while others nap for longer. Encourage your baby to be taking daytime naps because they are healthy.
- 12 months to 2 years
As your baby approaches her first birthday, she will sleep better. Very few children will wake up in the middle of the night, say less than 5 percent. The only problem you will probably notice is that your little angel will resist going to sleep during her bedtime at night.
You need not worry about this. Your little one only wants to spend quality time with her parents and siblings. That bonding time when everyone is in the living room is irresistible. It is my best time of the day and wouldn’t forgive myself if I missed it. I bet the little ones feel the same way I do.
- From 3 Years
At this age, your baby will probably be going to kindergarten or a daycare center in the neighborhood. This means that they have plenty of play time and so at the end of each day, they are usually very tired and looking forward to bedtime. The most appropriate time to get your little one to bed is at half past seven in the evening or latest at eight o’clock at night.
For a child aged 3-5 years, 11 – 13 hours of sleep will be ideal. Encourage a daytime nap of approximately an hour for your baby too. For children whose age is beyond 5 years, a daytime nap is no longer a necessity. They will be just fine without it.
For the nighttime sleep, make sure that your baby gets 10-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep to get them ready for the next day at school.
I hope that you have learned more about baby sleep cycles and the ages at which you should expect to see some change. That must have been quite some information to take in, but as a parent, it’s the only way you will get to understand your baby’s sleep cycle. As she grows, the longer her nap times will be and the fewer the awakening times will be.
Leave a comment on the article and share with us what you might have noted about your baby’s sleep cycles and the times when you had a false alarm about your baby experiencing sleep regression. Ask questions where you need answers and get comprehensive answers.
About The Author
My name is Tina Peters, the founder and owner of Topbabyadvice. I would like to welcome you all to this blog site: http://topbabyadvice.com/. I am so glad that you found your way to this wonderful motherhood and baby care site. I am 28 years old, and I live with my two daughters and my husband. I am so much passionate about mothers and babies.If you have something to share with me, contact me by using my email which is: Tina@topbabyadvice.com.