Sleeping well is extremely important. It is essential for our body because it allows us to rest and maintain good mental and physical health. Rest helps our brain work at its optimum level. It helps us be alert, learn, and concentrate during the day and consolidate what we learned, forming memories during the night. Sleeping well also lowers our stress levels, letting us live healthier lives. If sleep is extremely important for adults, you can imagine how important it is for babies!
Around the fourth month, a baby’s circadian rhythm is consolidated. If you are consistent with routines, your baby will learn to differentiate between day and night. The hours a baby sleeps at night increase slowly, but they still need naps during the day. In fact, sleeping during the day and sleeping at night are interdependent, because the amount of hours a baby sleeps during the day affect sleep at night. During the day, babies should sleep a minimum of two naps of 1 or 2 hours. There are children who even sleep three naps! The morning nap is regularly set 1 hour and half or 2 hours after waking up, while the midday nap is usually around 1:00 or 2:00 pm. The time you choose for each nap is not that important, but what is important is sticking to a fixed sleep schedule. That way, your little one will anticipate his sleep hours. You can create your own short pre-sleep routine, like having a feeding or reading a book, followed by putting him in his crib, and slightly turning down the bedroom lights.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal sleeping range for babies that are 4-6 months old is between 12-15 hours a day. If your baby sleeps a bit less, like around 10-11 hours a day; or a bit more, around 16-18 hours, it is fine. However sleeping more or less time than those ranges is not recommended. A long overnight sleep allows your baby’s brain to go through the different stages of sleep, needed to have an optimal development. When your baby sleeps, the brain processes all the information received during the day and helps him learn. He will eventually reach a restorative sleep, and he’ll wake up happy and rested. Sleeping less or more hours during the day affects him too. If he sleeps less, then he will probably be overstimulated, and this will make it even more difficult to get some sleep during the day. On the other hand, if he sleeps a lot during the day, he won’t do so at night. Therefore, try to establish fixed sleep schedules to help your baby sleep 2 or 3 naps during the day and sleep through the night.