Do you hear that its normal for kids to not sleep through the night for their first few years of life? Ever wondered at what age can children sleep through the night proper?
Having disrupted sleep can be detrimental to adults and to children. As a parent, I’m sure you know how it can affect you. For children, it’s even more important for them to have good sleep! When your child sleeps, the brain experiences intense activity, building the foundations for how they learn and grow, including the development of behaviour, emotions, and immune system. Poor sleep in infancy has been linked to problems with cognitive performance, social skills, obesity and your child’s immunity.
Here are some reasons for disrupted sleep for children:
1. Your child is hungry.
For newborns, they still need to be fed about 3 hourly even through the night. As the months go by they develop strong, hormonally-driven circadian rhythms that help them with their night sleep. At around 3-4 months of age, babies’ sleep patterns matures and they would be able to sleep longer stretches. By 6 months, most babies would be able to sleep through the night without waking for feeds as most of their feeding should be done in the day.
2. Your child has irregular bedtime routine.
When there’s irregular bedtime routine, infants would get overtired easily and that makes their cortisol level peak earlier at night and harder for them to stay asleep. With a good, consistent bedtime routine and early bedtime, you can improve your child’s sleep problems.
3. You might be too quick to intervene
Babies go through partial arousal in their sleeps just as we do when we go in and out of our sleep cycles. When we are too quick to intervene, we might wake a child who is still sleeping. Just as how we toss and turn at night during our sleep, infants will also try to settle themselves back to sleep if we allow them to.
4. Your child doesn’t know how to self soothe or sleep independently
If your child is dependent on you helping them to fall asleep, expect them to look for you or want you to help them go back to sleep when they wake between their cycles at night. If you continue to nurse or give a bottle for them to fall back asleep, it becomes a habit for their night waking. If your child is ready to be weaned from their night feed, I encourage you to do it as undisrupted sleep is so much more beneficial for your child.
5. Your child might be facing a developmental milestones
Your child might be facing some big developmental milestone in their first years. Such as rolling, standing and crawling. These developmental leaps may cause temporary disrupted sleep. Watch out for overtiredness in the day and if necessary help them to sleep but don’t create another external sleep association during this period. Trust that they will be able to sleep independently again if they have been taught so before. Remember the key is being consistent!
6. Your child might be sick
Being sick can cause sleep disruptions too and that’s just part of life. I believe sleep helps your child recover quickly so do what you can to help them out. If that means some cuddling in bed or holding them upright because of their blocked nose, know that it is just for this period. Allow more daytime sleep if their nights are disrupted. As much as you can keep consistent with bedtime as the routine would help them. Once they have been fully recovered, don’t be afraid to let them sleep independently.
If your child hasn’t learnt how to sleep independently, don’t worry! Book a FREE Discovery with us today so you can find out how to get started!