How Much Do They Need as They Grow?
Raising a child is no easy task. Worries and unknowns surround parenthood. Sleep can be a passionate topic, especially when you bring up babies. Everyone has a different idea of how to help babies get to sleep and stay asleep. If your baby keeps you awake all night then sleeps all day, you’re not alone. But, even though his sleep seems sporadic, most likely he’s getting enough -just not when you’d like him to get it.
How Much Do They Need?
Despite their need for more sleep than any other age group, newborns are known for their lack of predictable sleep patterns. Newborns need anywhere from 14 to 17 hours of sleep every day. However, they tend to sleep in short intervals. A newborn that only sleeps one to two hours at a time isn’t unusual.
Your baby’s sleep requirements change in the first year, but you can still expect a 12-month-old to get 12 to 16 hours of sleep, including naps. By this age, most children have begun to get most of their sleep at night with two naps during the day.
Toddlers and preschoolers, ages one to five, sometimes take bedtime battles to a whole new level yet they still need a solid 10 to 14 hours of sleep. Though you may find yourself in a battle of wills, a bedtime routine and consistency can work wonders at this age.
As a parent, you have the difficult task of helping your baby develop good sleep habits to regulate his sleep cycle. Sleep needs change as your baby passes through growth spurts and developmental phases. But, through all his changes, good sleep hygiene can help him (and you) get the rest he needs.
Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene includes all the habits and behaviors that affect sleep. Adults and children alike can benefit from developing routines that contribute to high-quality, restful sleep.
Consistent Bedtime: While not as important in the newborn years, as your child gets older keeping a consistent bedtime helps things run smooth. Bedtime consistency establishes healthy circadian rhythms. These rhythms control your child’s sleep-wake cycle, and he relies on these biological functions to regulate his sleep. Putting your child to bed at the same time every day helps his brain know when to start releasing sleep hormones.
Bedtime Routine: A good bedtime routine can work wonders for children of all ages. A calming routine helps to signal the brain that it’s time to go to sleep. Reading a book, rocking, quiet singing, and a warm bath are a few classic favorites because they’re relaxing and calming. The routine should be performed close to the same time and in the same order each night.
Skip the Screens: The bright blue light from TVs, smartphones, and iPads can signal the brain that it’s time to stay awake. While babies might not be watching screens, watching cartoons is a tempting way to distract toddlers before bed. Be sure to shut off screens at least an hour before bed so as not to disrupt the sleep cycle.
Create a Sleep-Supportive Atmosphere: Your baby’s bedroom should support good sleep. That means a comfortable crib mattress without lumps, sags, or tags that might wake him during the night. The bedroom should be kept dark, quiet, and cool to allow your child to reach the deepest stages of sleep.