What’s there to know about sleeping? Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their kids. You may wonder about how to get your child to sleep through the night. Maybe you have a new baby and want to learn how to help them develop good sleep habits that will last a lifetime. Some children may have chronic sleep difficulties, and many children (like most adults!) are actually going through their days sleep-deprived. Read on for information on all these issues and more, and for lots of links to even more resources to help your kids (and you) get a better night’s sleep.
What do I need to know about sleep cycles? When people sleep, they cycle between rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. In REM, your eyes move around fast, you don’t move your body much, and you dream. REM is light sleep and the stage when your infant or child is most likely to wake up. NREM sleep is deep sleep.
In normal sleep, a child cycles between light sleep and deep sleep. Each light sleep stage is a time when the child is more likely to wake up.
What do I need to know about how babies sleep? Infants go through a complete sleep cycle about every 50-60 minutes, so they are in light sleep and could wake up many times each night!
Newborns just sleep an old time, on and off, all through the day and night. By age four months, your baby will probably be sleeping a 6-8 hour chunk at night, and by age 6 months, about 10-12 hours. But that’s not to say that they won’t wake up during that time! Most babies still wake up at least once a night even at age nine months. Some can get back to sleep by themselves, and some need you to help them fall back asleep. If all this night waking is not working for your family, then you may find some helpful resources on this page, so read on!
Mom’s mood, baby’s sleep
Mom’s mood, baby’s sleep: What’s the connection? UM researchers find that babies born to moms with depression are more likely to have chaotic sleep patterns early on.
A special note about babies and sleep safety: Healthy babies should be put down to sleep on their backs to lower the risk of SIDS. Be sure all your baby’s caregivers are aware of the safe sleep guidelines. Find out more about Safe Sleep.