As a mother, it is clear that once you have children, good sleep becomes a part of the past. Babies wake you up in the wee hours of the night and as they grow, toddlers wake you up to go to the bathroom or to just call your name. Although our sleep is affected, we try to “take care” of our children’s sleep as much as possible and with great reason! Sleep is vital.
There are 2 states of sleep = NREM and REM. One sleep cycle is comprised of NREM + REM.
1. NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) – during this stage blood flow increases to muscles, tissue grows and repairs, and energy is restored.
2. REM (Rapid-Eye Movement) – our brains are active during this stage (dreaming occurs in this state) and our bodies are immobile.
We spend a certain amount of time in each of these states every night. The percent of time we are in each state depends on our age. As infants, we spend about 50% of our time in each state and one entire sleep cycle lasts about 50 minutes. By 6 months, we spend about 30% of the time in REM sleep and by age 3, our sleep cycle increases to 90 minutes.
Here is a snapshot on what sleep looks like in different stages of childhood:
– sleep usually 10.5 to 18 hours a day (irregular schedule)
– may be awake for periods between 1-3 hours
INFANTS (3-11 mths):
– About 75% of infants sleep through the night by 9 months
– Usually sleep 9-12 hours each night
– Usually nap 1-4 times per day for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Naps decrease with time.
TODDLERS (1-3 yrs):
– Need 12-14 hours of sleep
– By 18 months, naps usually decrease to 1 a day and last 1-3 hours
PRESCHOOLERS (3-5 yrs):
– Usually sleep 11-13 hours each night
– Most kids older than age 5 do not nap.
SCHOOL-AGED KIDS (5-12 yrs):
– Need 10-11 hours of sleep each night
Sleep habits are a cornerstone to happy and healthy children and much more refreshed parents. Our lives can be very busy but it is important to make sure that our children are getting enough sleep in order to “refuel” their bodies. In addition, many behavioral issues may be due to a lack of sleep! Developing a daytime/nighttime schedule, keeping a consistent bedtime routine, and maintaining an environment conducive to relaxation are the keys to sleep success!
Weekly Exclusive to aMother Adventure by:
Laura Soto, D.O.
Family Medicine Physician
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