Parents expect babies to sleep through most of the day, and that all it takes is for them to be fed and popped into their cot for the remaining part of the day. Well, if this scenario exists, it’s an exception to the rule. Being a parent is tiresome, and you want to make sure that your child is getting as much sleep as he or she needs. Here are some reasons why even a healthy baby does not sleep through the night.
While adult sleep cycles last an average of 90 minutes, infant sleep cycles are shorter, lasting from 50 to 60 minutes. This is why they experience periods of night waking every hour or so.
Babies may sleep better during the day because at night, they will get more attention from their two primary caregivers. During this period, there are fewer disturbances or interruptions to taking care of your child.
Not only do babies require a longer time to sleep and have more frequent waking periods during the night, they are lighter sleepers than adults.
As your baby learns to walk, pull up, roll, crawl, talk, etc., their sleep can become disrupted (naps too). It is important that they get appropriate naps during the day to help them get plenty of sleep, even when their new skills keep waking them up.
Another reason why babies don’t sleep at night is that their body clocks are not set yet. We sleep at night and wake up in the morning because we have circadian rhythms; these cycles of rest and activity get synchronized to light and darkness. Although a baby’s internal clock is fully formed before he is born, his brain doesn’t respond to it until he is 2-5 months old.
This one may seem obvious, yet when a 5-month-old baby is waking at night for a feeding or two, it could become a cause for concern. It is important to read about night feedings and when to night wean so you can understand how to deal with this.
It simply is natural for infants not to sleep for long periods. They are meant to have frequent breaks during the sleeping process. It reveals a very high level of development and intellectual accomplishment when the baby cannot sleep throughout the night.
Babies are meant to maintain continual and close contact with their parents. This goes back to the evolutionary history of humans to be close to their source of food and love.
Babies like to be moved in different ways because they need gross sensory interaction. Through the transition from womb to the world, their nervous systems are still vulnerable and they do not have the emotional or physical capacity to cope with things like tiredness, pain, or hunger.
Some children seem to struggle with teething. During the night especially, teething can be quite painful and can be, of course, very uncomfortable. Teething could cause restlessness, tummy aches, and loss of appetite.
Learning to sit, walk, roll over, crawl, or grab could inspire them to wake up at night to practice these skills. Your baby could wake up without crying and simply want to play. They find it hard to switch off at bedtime and would rather practice these wonderful new skills.