Before we dive into to helping our children sleep better, it’s important to understand the basics of sleep science.
Throughout the night, both adults and children alternate between sleep cycles; which are divided into two phases: REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement or dream sleep) and non-REM sleep. Each cycle last approximately 90 to 110 minutes (about 50 minutes in infancy). During these cycles, brief arousals or wake-ups usually occur at the end, but they are so short that as adults, we don't even remember them in the morning. We just go right back to sleep.
However, for our children, these partial arousals can be more disruptive and alarming, making them more awake. If they haven’t learned how to fall back asleep on their own, that’s when they look for you for help and assistance.
When we do more than we should, we are creating expectation and teaching our children behaviors that can make it harder for them to fall back to sleep without us. Finding a balance between comforting our children and giving them space to learn how to soothe themselves, is a fundamental part of both sleep coaching and parenting in general.
Once your child masters the skill of falling asleep independently, they can briefly stir for a minute or so and go right back to sleep; I find joy in coaching families through this significant milestone, and I am here to help you get there.
Now, when it comes to newborn babies, their sleep is less organized and developed. They sleep a lot, around 15-18 hours a day; but they lack the internal clock that adults have, known as the circadian rhythm. This biological clock tells us when to be awake and when to be asleep. So, it’s essential to assist and shape their sleep pattens during this phase to establish healthy sleep foundations for the future.
If you are curious about the science behind your child’s sleep, I am here to talk! I guarantee it will be worth it!