Even in the womb babies spend an average of 16 – 20 hours asleep every day, similar to that of a newborn baby. Scientific research has shown that sleep helps babies, toddlers and children grow, and is just as important as healthy eating and exercise to help them develop.
How do I know when my baby is tired?
There’s plenty of signs that your baby is tired and ready to sleep – they may fuss, cry or rub their eyes or generally be a bit on the grumpy side! It’s always best to spot the tired signs early on, so you don’t have a grouchy little one on your hands – and it’s always best to put them down to sleep when they’re dozy, not when they’re already asleep, so they learn how to make the transition from being tired to full-blown sleep themselves.
Why is sleep so important?
Sleep helps babies, toddlers and children grow, not just physically, but mentally too. Sleep is divided into two categories REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non REM sleep. REM sleep is lighter and more easily disrupted than non-REM sleep and is when dreams occur. Crucially it is REM sleep that stimulates brain development. Sleep deprivation can can have a direct impact on a baby’s or child’s development – leading to possible issues with physical and mental development, a lack of concentration and later health problems, such as diabetes and obesity.
How do I know if my child is getting enough sleep?
Put simply – how content is your baby or child?! Do they wake up fairly easily in the morning and remain calm and alert for a prolonged period of time? Babies are usually much happier after a restful sleep. We’re all guilty of getting grumpy when we’ve not had a good sleep, and babies and children are no different, they just can’t always tell us!