The Developing Brain

Sleep is important for the developing brain and body. By 3 years most children will have slept for more time than all the wakeful activities combined. Many parents worry their baby isn’t getting enough sleep. However, you need to know there is a large variation from baby to baby and toddler to toddler. Just like there is with developmental milestones.

Approximately 25% of children will experience a sleep problem of some kind.

Physiology of Sleep

The Circadian Process – an internal clock dictating periods of wakefulness and sleep based on a light-dark cycle. This is connected to the secretion of melatonin.

The Homeostatic Process – sleep pressure builds up during wakeful hours and is relieved by sleep.

Here are my TOP 5 Tips that you’re winning.

  1. Your baby is going down FULLY AWAKE (not drowsy – there is no drowsy but awake!) and putting themselves to sleep (no sleep crutches)
  2. Your baby can do one long sleep once a day (more than 40 minutes)
  3. Your baby wakes happy from naps
  4. Your baby can get to bedtime happy on the day naps they are getting
  5. You’re happy

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated the sleep needs of babies and children as a guideline. It’s really important to take note of the word GUIDELINE. It is exactly that, a guide, it is not set in stone.

Strong Personalities

Temperament is an important indicator of total sleep needs. The baby with a strong personality is often a resistant day napper and falls towards the lower end of the scale. Culture also plays a large part in how much sleep. Babies in New Zealand get the most sleep compared to babies in SE Asia. Sleep needs are trending lower across many cultures than they ever have. Are these babies getting enough sleep or has modern living compromised their sleep routines together with the adults?

Have a look at these bedtimes from around the world and their bedtimes!

sleep needs and bedtimes

https://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-requirements.html

Sleep Charts

Sleep charts are definitely not the last word on baby sleep requirements. To estimate your baby’s own, individualized needs, you need to supplement information from sleep charts together with your own observations of your baby’s behaviour.

Mindell et al (2009) research 

  • 0-2 month old – Total sleep was 10-19 hours and the average was 13-14.5 hours
  • 2-12 month old – Total sleep was  9-10 hours at night and 3-4 hours in day naps, the average was 12-13 hours
  • 1-3 year old toddlers – Total sleep was 9.5-10.5 hours and 2-3 hours of day naps, the average was 11-13 hours
  • 3-5 year old children – Total sleep was 9-10 hours, the average was 9-10 hours

Longitudinal Swiss Study

Iglowstein et al (2003) tracked 493 Swiss children from birth to 16 years. Here are the sleep patterns they observed for children under the age of 2 years. They may serve as a rough guide to baby sleep requirements.

  • 1 month old – The average baby got a total of 14-15 hours of sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 16 hour, 96% of babies got between 9 and 19 hours
  • 3 months old – The average baby got a total of 14-15 hours of sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 16 hours, 96% of babies got between 10 and 19 hours
  • 6 months old – The average baby got about 14.2 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 15.5 hours, 96% of babies got between 10.4 and 18.1 hours
  • 9 months old – The average baby got about 13.9 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 12.8 and 15 hours, 96% of babies got between 10.5 and 17.4 hours
  • 1 year old – The average baby got about 13.9 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 13 and 14.8 hours, 96% of babies got between 11.4 and 16.5 hours
  • 18 months old – The average baby got about 13.6 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 12.7 and 14.5 hours, 96% of babies got between 11.1 and 16 hours
  • 2 years old – The average baby got about 13.2 hours of total sleep, 50% of babies got between 12.3 and 14 hours, 96% of babies got between 10.8 and 15.6 hours

So, as you can see there is a large variation from baby to baby. This blog made me recall a mum from the Inner West of Sydney whose 3 month old baby regularly did 20 hours every single day. Everyone in the mother’s group shot daggers her way! Her 2nd child was equally sleepy.

And just to add more to the mix…

Feeding, Co-sleeping and Sleep

Breastfed babies tend to sleep less.

Studies of 4 week-old infants found that breastfed babies got less sleep than did formula-fed babies (Quillin and Glenn 2004; Quillin 1997).

Cosleeping babies sleep less.

A Swiss study has reported that children over 9 months of age who shared their parents’ beds slept less than did children who slept alone (Jenni et al 2005).

Every baby is different. Try not to worry, most babies will regulate their own sleep needs. And if you need help please contact me. I’d love to help you with your baby’s sleep. 

This article was in response to a question from a mum in my Nurture Sleep Program. To learn more about this program and support group click this link.

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✅ A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
✅ Evidence-based
✅ Gentle baby sleep methods
✅ Holistic assessment
✅ Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
✅ Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
✅ Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
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Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby

Nurture Sleep Program