Healthy sleep for a small child is extremely important, especially at the infant stage. Intensive learning and growing during the first few months of life require a lot of sleep. Disruptions in the day and night regime can result in a child having emotional and health problems later in life. Read our article and find out how to guarantee a healthy sleep for your baby.
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Importance of sleep for infants and young children
For the proper functioning of a child’s body, sleep plays just as important a role as, for example, a balanced diet. Babies sleep for a large part of the day because sleep is a prerequisite for their proper development. What’s more, the right dose of healthy sleep also strengthens the baby’s immune system.
While your baby is asleep, many important processes take place in the brain, including the production of substances that enable the functioning of nerve cells. It is about the so-called neurotransmitters:
- dopamine, which determines the well-being and mobility of a child ;
- serotonin, which is responsible for good mood and happiness ;
- noradrenaline responsible for life energy ; _ _ _
- acetylcholine, which conditions memory processes.
What are the consequences of not getting enough sleep for my baby?
Too few hours of sleep may have a negative impact on the emotional and mental development of a child, leading to problems with concentration, learning and memory in the future. Sleep deficiency reduces the level of melatonin in the body, which regulates the normal rhythm of a child’s day . In addition, they increase the concentration of cortisol, which is responsible for the feeling of stress. Interestingly, research shows that infants who experience sleep problems are more likely to become overweight later in life.
It is also worth noting that it is during sleep that children grow. Growth hormone is released in the pituitary gland after falling asleep. In the case of sleep disorders, this process may be disturbed, which can largely translate into the proper development of the whole organism!
How much should the baby sleep?
The recommended amount of sleep for newborns is approximately 16-18 hours a day for the first month. Later, your little one will become more active and will gasp less during the day. From the 6th month onwards, this number will drop to 14-15 hours of sleep a night. Older babies who sleep through the night will also need a few naps throughout the day. However, it should be remembered that the quoted values are only an average and their actual size depends on the child.
|CHILD AGE||NUMBER OF SLEEPING HOURS PER DAY|
|0-4 weeks||16 – 18|
|5-8 weeks||15.5 – 17|
|4-5 months||14.5 – 15|
|6-8 months||14.5 – 15|
Table 1 – Number of hours of infant sleep per day depending on the length of life
Daily rituals at bedtime
To introduce your toddler to the rhythm of healthy sleep, you should regularly celebrate all the little rituals at bedtime. It is worth reading to your child after bathing and hugging them. By giving him your time and attention, we will build a unique relationship with him, and the toddler will feel safe and loved, thanks to which he will easily fall asleep. Thanks to these daily habits, the little one will be able to calm down before falling asleep. He will also know that sleeping, drinking and listening to a fairy tale are signals to sleep.
In the case of children who are particularly difficult to fall asleep, you can use linden infusion, which our grandmothers liked to prepare. The tea made on its basis has a relaxing effect and supports the digestive processes, making it easier to fall asleep.
Another interesting method to help your baby fall asleep is music. Research shows that the songs that a baby learned in the mother’s womb during the last months have a calming effect on the baby also after birth! So you can make a special “sleep” playlist, which as a mom you often heard to relax. Calm music will help the little one to calm down. Music boxes are also great for this role, as well as the usual singing of a loving mother.
The most important thing is to avoid intense stimuli for 2 hours before going to bed, such as exercise, watching cartoons or playing with the phone. Because of them, our toddler may wake up and later have a problem with falling asleep.
Time to sleep
The basis of healthy sleep is comfortable conditions in the bed. The baby nowhere feels as good as in the soft, fragrant bedding. It is worth taking care of pleasant to the touch, comfortable pajamas. The room temperature should be 18-21 degrees Celsius. Good room ventilation and adequate darkening are also very important. You can find perfect accessories for a baby cot, handcrafted from natural materials, at JoNiceRoom. Thanks to this, you will certainly increase the conditions for a healthy sleep of our children. We hope that thanks to this, your nights will be asleep and full of colorful dreams.