Babies & Children: Tips for Sleeping Well
As adults, we've already seen firsthand what happens when sleep quality is impaired. In babies and children, the negative consequences of lack of sleep or interrupted sleep can be even more disastrous.
Most of us have experienced the effects of sleep deprivation after a bad night's sleep: slower reflexes, impatience, and a reduced ability to process information quickly.
It's no surprise that lack of sleep can have a serious impact on children's learning and school performance.
Children respond to lack of sleep in a totally different way than adults. If they don't sleep well, their development can be affected and their quality of life begins to be compromised.
Thus, it is important to ensure that they sleep properly for their young age.
Breathing difficulties, obesity and mental disorders are examples of consequences due to lack of sleep in children. And, indeed, they are too young to suffer from these things, don't you agree?
That's why we must protect babies and children's sleep as good as possible!
Knowing the consequences and how to avoid this scourge will allow parents or caregivers to be much better prepared to meet their children's sleep needs.
Why is sleep so important at these ages?
Like eating and toilet training, sleep is an area that parents or caregivers feel guilty about, despite having limited control over it.
Sleep patterns in babies and children can be affected by a variety of factors such as illness, teething, developmental stages, or home/environment changes.
So why is sleep important for children?
The effects of sleep deprivation can manifest in the classroom, making healthy sleep essential for learning and growth.
However, sleep is cumulative. Children tend to recover quickly from a few nights of lost sleep, and often faster than their parents!
Some children leave naps earlier than others. However, when given the opportunity, children catch up on sleep whenever they need to.
Lack of Sleep and Memory
A proper sleep routine can improve memory in preschool-aged children, according to a study from the University of Arizona.
This study found that children who slept well at night were more likely to remember previously learned words.
Learning is directly linked to behavior and concentration, which are also influenced by the quality and quantity of sleep.
While lack of sleep makes children lazy adults and teenagers, sleep deprivation tends to make children more distracted and aggressive.
How many hours of sleep do you need?
The amount of sleep hours depends on the age of the baby/child we are referring to. The smaller they are, the more hours they need to sleep.
0 to 3 months
14 to 17 hours
4 to 11 months
12 to 15 hours
1 to 2 years
11 to 14 hours
3 to 5 years
10 to 13 hours
6 to 13 years
9 to 11 hours
- 0 to 3 months
A 1-month-old baby can sleep through the night!
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that newborn babies spend between 14 and 17 hours of sleep. Due to their food needs, sleep is usually divided into shorter periods.
Since most sleep happens at night, it's not very common for newborns to be able to sleep through the night without waking up. How wonderful that would be for parents, wouldn't it?
But, unfortunately, this is not always possible, as the baby does not sleep or wakes up at night.
Why? This happens due to the adjustment and inclusion of the timing of feeding, the times of nighttime sleep and naps. During the day, parents need to adjust the schedule and routine of the newborn's day.
- 4 to 11 months
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that babies in this age group get between 12 and 15 hours of sleep a day.
The guidelines of the American Association of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics state that babies should get 12 to 16 hours of sleep total, being super normal for them to sleep 3 or 4 hours during the day.
- 1 to 2 years
Children this age should get between 11 and 14 hours of total sleep. The nap decreases in relation to babies and is responsible for about 1 to 2 hours of daily sleep.
Two naps a day is normal for this age group, with older children only needing one.
- 3 to 5 years
Preschool children aged 3-5 years should get about 10-13 total hours of sleep a day.
Naps may be shorter during this period or may end at once.
- 6 to 13 years
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that school-age children get about 9 to 11 hours of sleep daily. The American Sleep Medicine Association extends this period to 12 noon.
As this age group includes a broader set of ages, the individual needs of children in this group can vary significantly.
Younger school-age children need more sleep than high school children.
When children enter puberty and adolescence, their sleep patterns change a lot, which can lead to sleep disorders.
Sleep and babies - questions and answers
- Why do they sleep so much?
Babies spend more than half their time sleeping because this is a period of great growth.
Sleep allows the brain to develop, building networks and participating in activities that facilitate thinking, learning and behavior.
Sleep and nutrition also allow the baby to grow, acquire and improve their motor skills.
- Is it normal to take naps?
It is very common for babies to take a nap and sleep much more during the day. Newborns nap for about 3 to 4 hours during the day.
The nap is very beneficial! Frequent naps allow babies to consolidate specific memories. In addition, they lead to the acquisition of a more generalized memory, which is important for learning and brain development.
- When do they start sleeping at night?
For adults used to getting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, having a baby can be a life-changing experience!
Although newborns and babies spend most of their time sleeping, they rarely sleep through the night without waking up.
Babies begin to consolidate their nighttime sleep period around 6 months, and this will increase the time they sleep at night. However, this may vary depending on the stage of development they are in.
Information that will rest your heart: although parents are often concerned that their children take longer to fall asleep at night, there is no significant impact on the child's physical or mental development if the child is unable to sleep for longer periods.
Over time, it is expected that the baby will begin to sleep longer at night. However, until now, the importance of sleeping through the night has not been more important to babies than the total daily sleep time.
Tips to sleep better
There are steps we can take to increase consecutive sleep periods at night. Parents who have concerns about their baby's sleep should start with:
- Talk to the pediatrician.
- Keeping a sleep diary to keep track of sleep patterns - can help the pediatrician determine if the baby's sleep has a normal pattern or if there is an associated disorder.
- Adjust the Sleep Rhythm - for example, reducing the speed of response on awakening may encourage calming down; and gradually delaying bedtime can create more drowsiness, helping your baby sleep longer.
- Improve sleep hygiene by creating a consistent sleep schedule and routine.
- Make sure the baby has a calm and peaceful environment for sleeping.
- Adopt security measures to prevent the risk of suffocation and sudden-infant-death syndrome.
- Prioritize the quality of bedroom furniture - the greater the comfort, the better the sleep:
There are a number of factors that must be considered when choosing the children's mattress, clothing and bedding, including ergonomics and the materials they are made of.
It was with this in mind that Colmol developed a range dedicated to childcare, with the best quality mattresses and accessories for babies and children:
🛏️ Crib Mattresses
👼 Bedding and Pillow