Fact: Every living creature needs to sleep. So healthy sleep habits are important for us. You know how you feel when you haven’t had enough sleep! Well, your baby / child feels exactly the same way. Well rested babies make happy babies and well rested parents make happy parents and happy parents make better parents, this is so true!
So how do you know how much sleep your little one needs? Here’s a quick guide – just like adults need about 8 – 8 ½ hours at night – Babies 0-12 weeks need about 18 hours sleep in 24 hours. That’s a lot of sleep! Babies 12- 24 weeks need about 15- 16 hours in 24 hours. Babies 6-12 months need 15 hours. By your child’s first birthday their body needs 14 hours of sleep. Fast forward a couple of years, 4 years you are looking at 12 hours + rest time once day sleeps are not happening.
As a baby, it is the main job of the brain to sleep during this early development. The circadian rhythms or sleep-wake cycle, is based on light and dark these take a little time to develop when your baby is born, but research shows us that the rhythms begin to develop at about six weeks (so does your baby’s sleeping cues!) and by 3 months onwards your baby has developed a regular sleep-wake cycle and a way of going to sleep.
Did you know that by the age of two, most children have spent more time asleep than awake? Sleep is so important, as it plays a enormous role in your child’s mental and physical development as well as their immune system.
Let’s just take learning and memory. Children who get enough sleep learn more rapidly than those who are tired. Just think about yourself, have you ever tried to learn something new when you’re tired? It’s hard, and babies and toddlers learn a vast amount to learn in the first 3 years of their life.
As a parent, sleep is one of the biggest issues, so ensure that your baby / child is getting enough sleep and so are you – your sleep is important too! Remember that well-rested parents make better parents.