Sleeping through the night: the facts

Sleeping through the night

Nothing pushes new parents to the edge as quickly as the bundle of joy who steadfastly refuses to settle back to sleep at 3am each morning. And while you have to come to terms with the fact that it's going to be some time before you can look forward to a solid night's sleep again, it is worth remembering that:

  • Your baby is not born recognising night from day. He will begin to develop a circadian rhythm - the day-night sleep pattern we wake and sleep by that resets every 24 hours - by about 3-4 months which will then continue for the rest of his life.
  • Cycles of sleep last 30-50 minutes in babies as opposed to 90 minutes in adults.
  • Typically, a brief awaking occurs at the completion of each cycle. An independent sleeper and self-settler can put himself back to sleep after one of these brief wakings without disturbing the household. If your baby is consistently waking after 30-50 mins of sleep, this is because he's not managing to resettle himself into the next cycle of sleep.
  • Even babies who are magnificent sleepers, generally agree that the day starts when the sun gets up (or even earlier in winter!). Don't be unrealistic about your baby's ability to sleep -  there's little point in trying to resettle her at 6.15am. The day has begun!

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This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Raising Children Network.

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