Your Baby's Sleep Mode and Sleep Cycles Explained

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Pregnancy & Parenting

Your Baby’s Sleep Mode and Sleep Cycles Explained

Most mums in our communities are concerned with their baby’s sleeping patterns and their own sleeping patterns as well. Understanding your baby’s sleeping patterns will lead to better sleep for the parent as you tune yourself to your baby’s schedule.

Newborn babies cannot distinguish between night and day and will wake up within 2 hours or 4-hour interval to feed. As such, a new mum’s sleep will be interrupted. Newborn babies require 16 hours of sleep daily, which can range from baby to baby.

A baby’s sleeping pattern will also be influenced by his environment. Growth spurts, hunger, noise, television are some of the factors that will influence how a baby sleeps.


Your Baby’s Sleep Mode 2 – 6 Months

The amount of sleep decreases as the baby grows and by the third month, he will need around 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Other babies will not sleep for long periods during the night until they’re about one year old. Your babies ability to sleep for long will also be influenced by the methods you choose to put him to sleep.

At this age, he needs 14 to 15 hours of sleep in a day.


Your Baby’s Sleep Mode  7 – 12 Months

At this stage, the baby can sleep for long uninterrupted hours during the night. This is because he has matured and requires less feeding in comparison when he was a newborn. His sleeping patterns will still be influenced by the methods you choose to put him to sleep and his environment.

At this stage, he needs 13 to 15 hours of sleep in a day.


Your Baby’s Sleep Cycles

A baby’s sleep cycles will follow a distinct pattern in the first few months. At first, he will experience REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), then non-REM sleep.  After some months, the pattern reverses and non-REM sleep will precede REM. To understand your baby’s sleep patterns, you need to understand these cycles.

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM)

It’s a light phase in which your baby’s face, hands and legs twitch. Your baby begins the REM phase as he enters sleep mode. Minimal body movements indicate that his sleep mode is functioning in the right manner.


Non – Rapid Eye Movement

This phase involves light sleep, deep sleep and very deep sleep. With light sleep, there are no eye movements and the baby feels light when you lift him. With deep sleep, the baby is heavier and feels completely relaxed while in very deep sleep; there is an extremely heavy feeling of the limbs and the body. In the very deep sleep, the baby won’t react to any attempts to wake him up.


As you read through the months, the modes and the phases, you can tell which phase your baby is in. Understanding your baby sleep modes and cycles is important to enhance the methods you use to put him to sleep and prevent sleep conditions such as sleep apnea and sleep deprivation.


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