Today, we have a guest post from Founder and President of Comfort Mattresses, Mel Trudell. Enjoy!
If you’re like most parents of an infant, sleep has become a hot commodity. One of your top priorities has quickly become helping your baby get a truly restful night’s sleep. Because, let’s be honest- if your baby isn’t sleeping, neither are you!
When you’re walking around like a sleep-deprived zombie it’s difficult to be the parent you aspire to be. Lack of sleep will cause the best of us to lose focus, become irritable, and struggle to perform our everyday tasks.
And if a sleepless adult is struggling, a sleepless baby is, well, positively miserable. Before you know it, the baby’s crying, now you’re crying, and things have turned into a complete nightmare! By helping your little one sleep better, you will also help yourself. But, how?? It all starts with understanding what really happens to a baby’s body when they sleep.
It’s completely normal to have the urge to hover over your baby when they are sleeping. We start worrying, and wondering things like, is it normal for her to twitch like that? Is he comfortable that way? Is she breathing?? (Really, who hasn’t put their finger under baby’s nose just to check?) But it rarely crosses our minds to consider what’s happening with a baby’s body as they experience the different parts of their sleep cycle.
It’s time to reclaim your nights. If your baby isn’t sleeping like a baby, or you want to put your worries at ease, get in tune with these three things that happen to your baby’s body when they sleep. It will help you comfort them and even create a healthier sleep routine. You and your baby will be on your way to better sleep and better days!
- How to Tell if Your Baby is Tired
Recognizing when your baby is feeling tired and ready for sleep is the key to a good night’s rest! Look for the signs: rubbing eyes, yawns, shaking head, or a fussy disposition. One of the biggest mistakes we make as parents is waiting until the baby is asleep to put them to bed. We hold, cuddle, or rock them through this drowsy phase their body is experiencing.
Priyanka Yadav, D.O., Pediatric Sleep Medicine Specialist at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, suggests that your baby will actually get a better night’s sleep if they are put to bed drowsy, and their body can learn to ease into sleep on its own. Your baby is more likely to sleep for longer stretches of time and more peacefully this way.
To help a drowsy baby baby prepare for bed, consider a baby massage. This is a loving way to help your baby relax into a deeper sleep sooner.
Do Babies Go Through Sleep Stages?
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, babies experience several stages of sleep, ranging from light to deep sleep. The stages are not all that different from what an adult experiences. Your baby might actively move around in their crib or lie very still during sleep, depending on the stage.
Remember the summersaults your baby used to do in the womb? There were hours of activity, and then moments of restfulness. Infant sleep patterns begin forming during the last months of pregnancy.
- What Your Baby Does When it Actually Falls Asleep
Once your baby has drifted off to sleep, their mind and body goes through several stages and depths of sleep. Quiet sleep, also called Non-REM sleep, is the first stage. It will look and sound, well, quiet. Your little one should breathe calmly and regularly, and lay still.
Quiet sleep has 4 stages:
- Stage 1: drowsiness, eyes droop, may open and close, dozing
- Stage 2: light sleep, the baby moves and may startle or jump with sounds
- Stage 3: deep sleep, the baby is quiet and does not move
- Stage 4: very deep sleep, the baby is quiet and does not move
- Transitioning into a Deep, Active Sleep
Active rapid eye movement (REM) occurs when your baby is dreaming and accounts for about half of their sleep. During this stage, you can expect to still see some movement, like a rolling eye movement under the eyelids. Twitching of muscles, mild body jerks, and slightly irregular breathing pattern is also normal and no cause for concern. But use your best judgement and alert your pediatrician if you fear that your baby’s breathing sounds distressed and labored as they sleep.
According to doctor Priyanka Yadav, it is very likely that your baby uses these periods of deep, active sleep to process memories, all the things she learns during the waking day. In the beginning of life your baby is learning new things rapidly, and their brain needs more sleep time to process it all! Your baby will cycle through quiet sleep and active sleep several times each time they rest.
What have you noticed your baby doing while they sleep? Is your baby a light sleeper or a heavy sleeper? Feel free to ask questions and share your tips for getting your baby or toddler to sleep below – we love hearing from you!
About the Author: Founder and President Mel Trudell first discovered a love for handmade furniture at age 15 during his first task at a mattress company: sweeping the factory floor. As simple as the job was, it gave him the unique opportunity to examine firsthand the industry’s modern standards and techniques. Mel soon discovered an urgent need for improvement. In subsequent years, after exploring the industry at every level and from every angle, Mel resolved to create Custom Comfort Mattress. He called upon the traditional American craft of mattress-making, beginning by personally constructing each mattress by hand. Mel has since built a family-owned business and several collections of luxury mattresses, never wavering from his commitment to provide the best in handcrafted quality and customer service.