Light sleep of the newborn: why does he wake up easily?

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Il sonno it is a major part of a newborn's life. In fact, in the first month of life, a healthy baby sleeps about 16-18 hours a day, with consecutive sleep phases of about 3-4 hours. With growth, the hours of total sleep decrease slightly (14-16 hours) and those of consecutive sleep (nocturnal sleep) increase up to approximately six months, when the baby will begin to sleep more at night than during the day. So what if the baby is a light sleeper and wakes up all the time?

In this article

  • How does a newborn sleep?
  • Light sleep of the newborn: possible causes
  • Light sleep of the newborn: what to do
  • Why is sleep so important?

How does a newborn sleep?

Newborns sleep differently than adults. The sleep of small children (up to three years) is irregular e it changes a lot according to the subjects, although there are some common characteristics that can help parents take the right steps in managing their baby's rest.

Infants, infants tend to alternate often and willingly phases of sleep and wakefulness, making no distinction between night and day, especially in the first two to three months of life. Moreover, even when it seems that he is sleeping, the little one does not always experience the same type of rest, but goes through two macro-phases:

  • Active sleep (or REM sleep): it represents the first moment of sleep and lasts about 20 minutes. In this phase the little ones are in a state of very light sleep / so much that they often continue to move) and even the smallest noise or occurrence inside the sleeping room can cause awakening.
  • Deep sleep: it is the second part of the cycle, which lasts a little longer and is very difficult for a very young child to reach.

At the end of this cycle, the baby may to wake up for various reasons (hunger, a physiological need, etc. ..) but often the micro-awakening it lasts so short that it does not attract the attention of parents.

Read also: Don't Wake Up Babies: Truth or False Myth?

Light sleep of the newborn: possible causes

The light sleep of the newborn is therefore one unavoidable feature of this phase of the child's growth: mom and dad must resign themselves to the fact that the little one will often wake up both day and night!

However, there may be some disturbing elements able to complicate the child's rest:

  • Presence of light sources too bright in the bedroom;
  • Temperature inadequate environment;
  • Noises from electronic devices (TVs, computers, etc.);
  • Presence of conspicuous or penetrating odors.

To these we must obviously add some moments of development that in the first years of life will certainly affect the quality of the baby's sleep such as:

  • Fevers and ailments
  • Teething
  • Difficult digestion
Read also: Children who do not sleep well: what to do?

Light sleep of the newborn: what to do

Of course, parents cannot alter the nature of babies' irregular sleep, but they can put the baby in a position to rest in the best way. Simple precautions may be enough, especially in the first months of life:

  • Prevent the baby from sleeping in prone position (belly down);
  • Keep the little one in a separate cot, without too many pillows and / or blankets and without bulky games (at least in the first months);
  • Keep the room temperature around 20 ° C (neither too hot nor too cool);
  • Cradle and sing lullabies and speak in a low, relaxing tone to help you sleep;
  • Educate your baby to get used to sleeping longer. An example? Do not pick up the baby immediately when he wakes up and do not make him bother in places other than his own bed.

Even establishing one right away routine bedtime can make it easier for the baby to fall asleep and, very importantly, to begin to distinguish between night and day. Dressing your pajamas at night and, conversely, changing your outfit during the day, for example, is a simple but effective way of doing this.

Sources: Bambino Gesù Hospital; NHS

Read also: The rules of good sleep for children

  • children's sleep
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