Why Sleep is so Important for Babies

No matter what we are told, most of us are fascinated by how much newborn babies’ sleep. In fact, newborns tend to sleep more than they are awake. Most will wake for a feed and will often fall asleep while drinking their milk. Sometimes it is a struggle to get them to even wake up for their feed. So, why do they sleep so much and why is sleep so important for babies, especially in their first year?

Why is Sleep So Important for Babies

Because of the amount of time that newborn babies spend sleeping, it stands to reason that it must be important. But why is that?

It is vital that babies get enough sleep as it is necessary for their development. Sleep is when their tiny bodies will grow and develop and when they process all the new skills they are learning. According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep is an essential building block for your child’s mental and physical health.

How Much Sleep do Babies Need?

Newborn babies tend to sleep for between 16 and 17 hours a day. Newborns especially seem to sleep for periods of between two and four hours at a time, waking up to feed. As they reach the age of about a month, they will sleep slightly less, with around 14-16 hours per day needed. By the time the baby reaches the age of three months, he or she will still need around 14 to 16 hours of sleep per full day, but you might find that they are sleeping for longer at night and awake a bit more during the day.

By six months of age, the baby might be sleeping through the night and may only sleep for a few hours during the day. You can expect babies of this age to have around two or three naps during the day. They will get most of their sleep at night.

Babies will sleep for between 13 and 14 hours per day once they reach the age of twelve months. They should still be napping during the day but only for a couple of hours.

What Affects Sleep in Babies?

The above are just guidelines as all babies are different. Some will sleep for longer and others will sleep for far less, and there are lots of reasons for this. Getting your baby into a good nighttime sleep routine as soon as possible will be beneficial for them and you. Indeed, the more sleep your baby gets, the more rested you will be.

There are many reasons why your baby’s sleeping could be affected. It might be that they are overstimulated before bed. Try to get baby to wind down before bedtime with a nice warm bath followed by a baby massage. Play some soft soothing music in the nursery and keep it as dark as you can.

Some babies will fuss about when placed on their back. They might drop off to sleep only for their startle reflex to wake them up again. To combat this, swaddling is recommended. The experts at CozeeCoo say that swaddling can also prevent your baby from scratching themself with sharp nails during the night, which can be another reason they wake. An organic cotton sleep sack is the perfect way to make your baby feel more secure at night without getting too hot, which can often be a problem with traditional blanket swaddling.

Babies will also wake up if they are unwell or teething. If you are worried that your baby is unwell, speak to your pediatrician and ask for a checkup.

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