Healthy sleep is important for a baby as much as good nutrition. Every mother knows the struggle of handling a sleep deprived baby. Babies tend to become all cranky and fussy when they do not receive adequate sleep. On the other hand, your baby’s nap time is your nap time too. It often becomes the period of the day when you can attend to other things you need to take care of. In addition, a good healthy sleep can bring many health benefits to your baby.
Fundamentals of a healthy sleep
Sleeping becomes healthy, only when certain necessities are fulfilled. They are;
Being able to sleep for an adequate amount of time
Having a quality sleep with no interruptions
Having adequate number of naps appropriate for the age
Sleeping pattern should sync with the baby’s internal biological clock or circadian rhythm
How much sleep should your baby get?
The amount of sleep a baby should receive within a day varies according to the age of the baby.
Total required amount of sleep: 14- 16 hours
Nighttime Sleep: 8-10 hours
Daytime sleep: 6-8 hours
Naps: About 3 naps
Total required amount of sleep: 12-16 hours
Nighttime Sleep: 9-10 hours
Daytime Sleep: 3-6 hours
Naps: 2-3 naps
Total required amount of sleep: 11-14 hours
Nighttime Sleep: 11 hours
Daytime Sleep: 2-3 hours
Naps: About 2 naps
Total required amount of sleep: 10-13 hours
Nighttime Sleep: 10-11/10-13 hours
Daytime Sleep: 0-1 hours
Naps: Not compulsory after age 5
Benefits of receiving adequate healthy sleep
Baby becomes more calm and attentive
Improves baby’s interaction with people in the surrounding and helps to develop social skills
Baby becomes more attached to its parents
Maximizes the development and functions of the baby’s brain and the nervous system
Improves the immune system of the baby
Reduces anxiety and stress
Improves cognitive and behavioral qualities
Gets higher IQ later in life.
Consequences of sleep deprivation
Can lower the immunity of the baby
Baby becomes more irritable and fussy
Baby gets tired easily
Baby loses its concentration and alertness
Causes metabolic changes in the body, that can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases
Can result in less effective brain and cognitive functions
Can result in behavioral problems in later life
What can a parent do?
It is obvious that receiving proper sleep is essential for proper growth and development of a baby. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that your baby receives an adequate amount of sleep within a day. Here are some tips you can use to establish healthy sleeping habits for your baby.
You can regulate your baby’s sleep routine by establishing specific bedtimes and naptimes.
Giving a warm bath before bedtime will ensure sound sleeping
Change your baby into night clothes before sleeping. Then, the baby will know it is time for bed.
Sing a lullaby or read a bedtime story
Give a gentle massage to help your baby fall asleep fast