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Understanding Your Baby's Sleep Pattern

Do you often dream of getting a good sleep but hardly manage to sleep for 4 hours at a stretch without being interrupted? Babies have no fixed sleep pattern and it can be extremely hectic to keep up with their routine while managing to get some sleep yourself. Even with your partner’s help, there is only so much you can put up with. 

The best solution to this is to learn that babies have no fixed sleep pattern until the age of 3 months. For this, you need to understand your baby’s sleep patterns so that you can fit it in with your schedule and do your best to catch up on your sleep while giving full attention to your little one.

Babies have shorter sleep cycles than you.

Babies do not sleep through the entire night, but neither do adults. You may want to recollect how you have a few wakeful moments when you are sleeping at night. Getting complete sleep in one long chunk does not really happen, each of us moves through several cycles of sleep which as a whole make up the complete sleep required by us.

There are two phases of sleep. First, Non-Rapid Eye Movement (Non-REM) which begins with a feeling of drowsiness or light sleep and then progresses into more restful, deep slumber. Second is the phase of Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM). This phase involves high levels of brain activity and faster brain waves.

If you watch your baby or anyone for that matter when they are in their REM stage of sleep, you will notice that their eyes are darting beneath their eyelids. This is mostly characterized as the phase of dreams. Both you and your baby start with Non-REM and then move to REM stage. This is when one cycle is completed and then we move on to another cycle.

While in adults, this cycle is usually as long as an hour and a half, babies have much shorter cycles. At birth, a baby’s cycle is about 45 minutes, whereas it extends to an hour when the baby turns a year old. The composition of each cycle as a percentage of Non-REM and REM sleep also differs in adults and babies.

Babies are born without a Body Clock.

We have a set rhythm, an internal body clock which tells us when to go to sleep and when to wake up. But we were not born with this clock, we developed it as and when we grew up. While babies do develop their own rhythm and sleep pattern, it may take up to 12-14 weeks (longer in some cases), for them to get used to get used to their external environment and the ways of its working.

To support and enhance the development of your baby’s natural clock, you need to expose her to as much natural daylight and as much natural darkness at night time, as possible. Light in the day time and darkness in the night time triggers some hormones which bring about sleep patterns.

Having your sleep pattern disrupted is not the nicest of things, but you just need to give your baby a little time to fall into a routine. This will happen soon if you do not force them to sleep and wake up according to your convenience; it will just make them irritable.

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