Does your baby keep you awake at night?

Have a four-week-old baby who barely sleeps 4 hrs day or night. Should I be concerned? A common question bound to come as a parent. We always wonder if our baby is getting enough sleep or not. Generally, all babies wake up during the night and start crying loudly until their parents (mother particularly) come to their aid. Does your baby keep you awake at night? A fact-check.

Factors causing poor sleep

  1. Napping for long periods in the afternoon and waking up to play at bedtime. Bad routine.
  2. Hunger
  3. Continuously crying  It means you are missing it out. Your baby is tired.
  4. Screen time before bedtime.
  5. Sometimes, the baby’s environment is so stimulating that they could not calm down easily. Too much noise, hotch-potch, or room ambiance may be the irritating factors for them.
  6. Physical discomfort
  7. Room Temperature/ Ambiance

Consequences of poor sleep

Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on health so sleeping well is very important. According to the data presented at conference Obesity and Cancer: Mechanisms Underlying Etiology and Outcomes, several measures of poor sleep quality were associated with higher body mass index (BMI) in children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently given statistics referred to one in five children between the ages of 6 and 19 is obese.

Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., MPH, and the study’s lead author said, childhood obesity puts them at greater risk of developing obesity-related cancers in adulthood. In most research explored that duration of sleep affects eating behaviors and weight. Obesity in childhood may further lead to chronic complications as well.

Design: A study enrolling 120 children (~age 8) examines how environmental exposures and nutrition, both pre-birth and during early childhood affect the pattern of genes work. Their sleep-wake cycle was tracked with accelerometers continuously for 24 hours per day for a period of at least five days. Eating pattern was noticed on satiety levels once they eat food.

Findings: Shorter sleep duration, measured in hours, was associated with a higher BMI z-score (body mass index adjusted for age and sex). Each additional hour of sleep was associated with a .13 decrease in BMI z-score, and with a 1.29-centimeter decrease in waist circumference.

Fuemmeler said the study results indicate that while sleep duration is important, examining markers of sleep quality may also be useful in designing childhood obesity prevention strategies. The study’s primary limitation is that it did not include whether sleep quality influences weight gain or weight in children affects their sleep.

In the long term, we also know it can have an impact on children’s learning, memory, and development.

How can I get my baby to sleep?

Sleep problems are indeed often complicated in their nature but can be simple to deal with. Because once you find out the root cause of the problem, they are simple to solve.

  1. Do not compare your child to others during the shared conversation with other parents. The need for sleep is different for different children. Each baby is different and what works for one may not work for another.
  2. The feeding to the baby must be about every 2 hours. Also, feeding shortly before bedtime, encourage your baby to sleep longer at night.
  3. According to the study, if your child wakes from a nap in the daylight, they understand it’s time to get up. If they wake at night in the dark, they’ll learn to go back to sleep.
  4. Decide the routine of the baby’s sleep. Your baby needs regularity and stability.
  5. In a recent survey of 715 British parents, researchers found that babies who spent time playing with touch screens (on phones and other devices) took longer to fall asleep at night. Keep them away from gadgets before bedtime.
  6. Adjust the adequate room temperature. Create a soothing environment while the baby is sleeping.
  7. Give your baby a simple morning wash. Change her nappies and clothes regularly to feel fresher. The baby will find more comfort and may not get irritated.
  8. Try to motivate your baby. Play with her as much as you can throughout the day.
  9. Babies need to learn to sleep. Initially, they have short sleep cycles lasting only a few hours at a time. Toys, Lullabies, a gentle touch of the mother, etc could work for them.
  10. Co-sleeping may improve the sleep time for both mother and baby.
  11. A sudden change in your baby’s sleeping behavior may be a sign of illness. Be aware of symptoms and seek advice from your healthcare professional.

Here are the hours of sleep your baby may need between the ages of one month and 12 months. Considering each baby different, your little one may need more or less sleep than this.

AGE Day Napping Night Sleep Total Sleep
New-born 8 hrs (3 naps) 8- 9 hrs 16-17 hrs
1 Month 6-7 hrs (3 naps) 8-9 hrs 14-16 hrs
3 Months 4-5 hrs (3 naps) 10-11 hrs 14-16 hrs
6 Months 3 hrs (3 naps) 11 hrs 14 hrs
9 Months 2-3 hrs (2 naps) 11 hrs 13-14 hrs
12 Months 2-3 hrs (2 naps) 11 hrs 13-14 hrs

Well-rested babies, who have regular routines of sleep and wakefulness, tend to be more content and easier to care for.

[16th March’18 is World Sleep Day. World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects, and driving.]

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