As adults, we all know the significance of sleep in our lives. It is essential and a necessity because the lack of it can affect how we function on a regular basis and can also affect us in the long run with regards to our health. Long term sleep deprivation can increase your risk of having chronic conditions like diabetes mellitus and heart disease.
Babies, on the other hand, despite not having too many tasks to do, need more sleep than we adults do. Why? Because they are growing rapidly, aside from that having enough sleep--or the lack, thereof--directly affects their mood. Just like us, it is essential to them for good health. When babies get enough sleep, they may have lower chances of getting overweight and developing diabetes. Also, pediatric researchers found that children who get the sleep that they need have fewer learning problems and attention issues.
- Sleep promotes growth and development
- Growth hormones are primarily secreted when sleeping
- Sleep helps the heart
- "Children with sleep disorders have excessive brain arousal during sleep, which can trigger the fight-or-flight response hundreds of times each night," says Jeffrey Durmer, M.D., Ph.D., a sleep specialist and researcher in Atlanta. "Their blood glucose and cortisol remain elevated at night. Both are linked to higher levels of diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease."
- Sleep affects weight
- Getting too little sleep causes kids to become overweight, even starting in infancy.
- Sleep helps beat germs
- During sleep, children (and adults) also produce proteins known as cytokines, which the body relies on to fight infection, illness, and stress.
- Sleep reduces injury risks
- Kids with less sleep tend to be more clumsy and impulsive, setting them up for accidents.
- Sleep increases kid’s attention span
- Children who consistently sleep fewer than ten hours a night before age 3 are three times more likely to have hyperactivity and impulsivity problems by age 6.
- Sleep boost learning
- Sleep aids learning in kids of all ages, and education experts are finding that naps have a particular magic. A baby may look peaceful when he's sleeping, but his brain is busy all night long.
However, how much sleep does your child really need? How can you make sure that they are really getting enough sleep or are they already oversleeping? Every bundle of joy is unique, no two babies are alike, so don’t compare your little cutie to your friend’s. Nevertheless, if you still want to know if your babies are on the right track of their sleep schedule, read below.
0 to 3 Month Old Babies
Newborn’s internal clock isn't fully developed yet, but a healthy baby at this age can sleep from 14 to 18 hrs over the course of the day, divided almost equally during day and night.
Newborns should be awakened for feeding if they sleep more than four hours, but normally at this age they snooze for only two to four hours. However, when they finally gained a bit of weight, it is okay to let them sleep and have some peace for a couple more hours.
4 to 6 Month Old Babies
Babies usually begin to sleep longer stretches at night at 3 months. So, if you are a first time parent, don’t worry, you’ll be able to have longer sleep as well. Sleep, for you, is not far off a dream after all.
During this age span, you can expect your cuties to sleep 12 to 14 hours in total. At night, they will sleep 5 to 8 hours with at most two feeding sessions as an interruption, and have two to three daytime naps.
When they reach 5 months, they’ll start differentiating day and night and will adjust to the sleeping schedule of the family. They will finally sleep more at night and less during the day. CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE CLOSE TO GRADUATING FROM THOSE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.
7 to 11 Month Old Babies
At this age range, babies still need 14 hours of sleep in total with two or three daytime naps that should last for about 2 hours and 30 minutes each. Usually, babies who are breastfeed tend to still wake up at night during this age, but most don’t need to be fed at the middle of night.
Toddlers, babies ages from 1 to 3, sleep about 12 to 14 hours over a 24-hour period. However, at this age, separation anxiety tends to occur, so babies love to stay up with their parents with the fear of missing out. Yes, FOMO exists with babies, too.
If you want to know more about separation anxiety, here’s an article for you.
You’ll probably miss the sleepless nights at this point as you watch and realize that your baby has finally grown. You’d feel more sentimental.
Anyway, when your kids enter preschool, they tend to sleep 10 to 12 hours at max a night. Those who sleep longer at night might not need a nap during the day and might be able to focus more on their learning and education.
However, since they are giving up their nap time, they might need some quiet time alone in the afternoon to relax and have some peace and might go to bed earlier than before.
Basically, these are the amount of time in total your babies should sleep over a 24 hour period, depending on their age. Also, yes, no need to worry because those sleepless nights and stress are not forever, you will eventually get back to your sleeping routine and will be able to have the rest that you deserve as your babies grow older and bigger.
If you want to incorporate bedtime routines for them and want to know why bedtime routines are important, we got an article for you! Click here.
In the next article for this Understanding Sleep Series, we will discuss the reasons why your angels are having trouble sleeping at night and some tips and tricks on how to solve those “Sleep Issues”.
Stay tuned, Mummas!
Love + miracles,