Updated: Jul 24
What is the first thing you hear from people when you announce that your are pregnant or will be expecting a new family member? "I hope you are ready to be sleep deprived"... or, "You can say goodbye to rest"... or "When they sleep, make sure you sleep". When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I was expecting to be sleep deprived for the first 5 years of his life. In my mind, once he was in school all day he would be too tired to want to wake up in the middle of the night. As parents, whether it be first-timers or experienced ones, we tend to get complacent when it comes to sleep, for our little ones and for ourselves. We plan to settle for the next few years that our baby will get in the habit of waking up multiple times throughout the night and just deal with it and hope and pray that it will pass…eventually.
I often tell my clients that they don’t have to wait until their little ones are grown-ups or out the house for them to start getting their sleep back, it can truly start with your little one as an infant. The more sleep your little one gets is not only better for your because you too will have an opportunity to get rest, but it also helps them in ways you may not have known or thought of. Let's jump into the Top 5 Reasons your little one needs their beauty sleep.
When you haven’t gotten enough sleep as an adult, I bet you are struggle to focus on doing things throughout the day. You are probably drifting off in the abyss during your meeting just wishing you could have gotten at least one or two more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Just as much as we need sleep to focus throughout the day, sleep
is extremely crucial for baby’s brain development. During sleep, the brain is working on processes and retaining information that was observed throughout the day and consolidating it to allow for our little ones to learn skills and abilities. This is also the case during naptimes as well. For babies that take regular naps throughout the day has the tendency to show an increase in the ability to develop skills, recall language and think creatively.
It is no surprise that sleep is an important factor of physical growth. The body produces growth hormones (hGH) which stimulates repair and growth of tissues within the body. Although your baby’s body may seem calm and relaxed there is a lot going on within. Cells in the cartilage called chondrocytes and cells in bones called osteoblasts receive signals from hGH to increase replication, which is a fancy way of explaining how bones grow longer, thicker, and stronger.1
Are you moody when you have not gotten enough sleep…I know I am. Sleep is also an important factor for emotional well-being. Just like us, when babies do not get enough sleep, they can begin have mood swings and can become cranky and irritable. When they have reached this point, it can become very difficult for them regulate their emotions. . According to Dr. Dean Beebe, director of the neuropsychology program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “Inadequate sleep causes children to have problems regulating the ups and downs in their moods, leading to wider and more rapid reactions to relatively minor events. Children who don’t get enough sleep also don’t pay attention as well, are less likely to think before they act, and don’t seem able to solve problems as well.”
Immune System Function
Sleep also help boost our immune systems, so of course, you can expect this to be the same for your baby as well. An adequate amount of sleep helps them fight off illness and infections. During sleep, your body produces and releases various types of immune cells such as cytokines, T-cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. These cells are responsible for identifying and targeting pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, and initiating an immune response to eliminate them. You baby’s system is being equipped with the essential immune cells to fight off infections.
Better Parent-Child Relationships
Of course we cannot forget about the good ol’ quality time that takes place while parent are bonding and creating that amazing and wonderful parent-child relationship. If you and your little one both have an adequate amount of sleep, you both especially your little one, are more likely to be cheerful, cooperative and responsive. There will be less frustration or conflict with your little one, which is something we all strive to work towards.
You are probably questioning now, how I can make sure my little is getting the recommended amount of sleep or just more sleep in general. Check out the five areas below that you can start working on immediately to help you get going down the right path.
Establish a consistent bedtime routine that includes calm relaxing activities such as listening to music, singing a song or reading a book.
Implement set bedtime and wake-up times, including the weekends.
Ensure you baby’s room is cool, dark and quiet so that is has a sleep-friendly environment. (White noise machines are the exception)
Avoid screen time (TV, tablets, smartphones) about an hour before bedtime since these items could interfere with their sleep.
Ensure your child engages in physical activities during the day, as this can help them fall asleep easier at night.
These little changes have been a major impact for many families. If you have incorporated these and are still having challenges to get your little one sleeping through the night or during nap time, feel free to book a FREE MEET ‘N’ GREET call to see if there are other quick pointers available that could help your little one as they transition to establishing healthier sleep habits.