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Why Do Babies Sleep So Much?

Why Do Babies Sleep So Much?

Submitted by Sierra Kaya

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In an Insider write-up, it was revealed that a newborn sleeps an average of 16 to 17 hours per day. This rest is by no means consistent, as newborns will wake up every one to three hours to feed. And sleeping patterns will only stretch for longer periods as babies grow older. For parents, lack of sleep is a cause for concern— and for a good reason. During infancy, the amount of sleep can impact the baby's behavior, immune system, and mental development. All those indicate good health for babies, which we’ll discuss more thoroughly below.

In this article, we’ll answer queries on why babies sleep so much.

The importance of knowing the benchmark of babies’ sleep

Raising children requires keen observation and knowledge. This is increasingly important when it comes to sleep habits as they’ll impact infants’ waking lives. Generally, after achieving the standard 16 to 17 hours per day, six-month-old babies will sleep around 13 to 14 hours per day. By their first year, sleep will decrease to about eight to nine hours. Sleep schedules will vary from infant to infant. Observing behavioral changes and getting educated on children’s sleep is necessary to prevent sleep insufficiency.

This is why modern human development and family studies training champions studying healthy family development closely and teaches parenting skills. More importantly, it focuses on translating this knowledge into usable parenting strategies. For carers and parents, it’s crucial to identify the challenges that impact an infant’s sleep schedule. Sleep disorders and environmental influences contribute to a child’s sleep habits. But before parents can mitigate recognizable factors, we will first address why infants sleep a lot, especially during their first year.


The reason why babies sleep so much

Sleep during infancy is critical for both cognitive development and physical growth. As babies develop, growing pains become inevitable. Growth spurts can deplete energy in the body. To recover, babies will feed more, take frequent naps and even sleep for more extended periods. Aside from growth spurts, sleep can be the recourse to combat illnesses as infants are vulnerable to viruses. So if they suffer from colds or the flu, sleep can bolster their immune system against germs. Moreover, although vaccinations can enhance your infant’s immunity, the process can likewise take a toll on their body. To compensate for the subsequent exhaustion, they may feel sleepy and take more naps in the coming days.

If infants get inadequate sleep, this can generate negative outcomes. Sleep aids several brain functions, so insufficient sleep can impede neurocognitive tasks, emotions, and mood. Infants who lack sleep are more likely to display hyperactive behavior, an inability to focus, and a reduced attention span. Slow motor responses to stimuli and irritability can also manifest. Similarly, another system that's compromised by poor sleep is the cardiovascular system. Babies can incur excessive weight gain, hypertension, and even cardiac impairment. That said, sleep is essential for babies' physiological development.

Meanwhile, a report suggested that normal sleep development is linked to higher cognitive function. The same holds true for a baby’s temperament, as increased sleep boosts adaptability and low distractibility. When left unchecked, sleeping problems (caused by insufficient sleep) can lead to low socialization and adverse emotional reactions.

Tips on cultivating better sleep habits for babies

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Infancy is a time of significant change. Although babies normally sleep a lot, unhealthy sleep habits can cause your babies to eat less and become lethargic. This is why parents should promote good sleep hygiene. For one, essentials that should be part of every parent’s checklist before their babies arrive are eco-friendly products. Natural baby wipes and chemical-free diapers ensure that the ingredients are safe on a newborn’s skin. Babies have significantly thinner skin than adults, so rashes can easily form and make sleep uncomfortable. To prevent unnecessary contact with toxins, it's best to utilize natural diapers, and even natural baby shampoo and body wash.

In terms of surroundings, a dark and quiet environment can prevent sleep disturbances. The post on Insider also states that babies won’t know the distinction between day and night in their first few months. As such, adjusting sleep routines should be based on an infant’s natural patterns. Ultimately, parents should gain perspective on their child’s habits to find ways to enhance sleep quality.


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