Baby Sleep Cycles v.s Adult Sleep Cycles


It’s a bit ironic when “they “say Sleep Like A Baby because we can’t it is impossible. Only a baby can truly Sleep Like A Baby. Literally, the sleeping cycles of infants and adults differ greatly. This is not an excuse to abandon your adult sleep needs to placate those of your baby. But, it might provide some piece of mind and give you insight.

When an adult’s head hits the pillow, they can shut down. Drifting into REM and a deep sleep that can persist for up to 90 minutes at a time. This cycle persists for the length of rest. Deep sleep is where the most physical rest occurs. Experts say that adults need at least 6-8 hours of sleep. During this time adults experience mostly, deep sleep making them harder to rouse.

Infants need to ease into their sleep cycle. They literally must be put down. They then cycle in and out of REM several times before achieving no more than an hour of deep sleep. This means they are much lighter sleepers.

Since a baby is in experiencing light sleep for the majority of the recommended 13-18 hours of sleep they are way more susceptible to being woken. The slightest agitations are cause for waking.

Most common agitators are unfamiliar sounds, temperature shifts, a dirty diaper and hunger. Babies also often wake because of themselves with their own  startle reflex or moro reflex.  

This reflex is often combatted by a nice tight swaddle. Ask your Postpartum & Infant Care Doula to give you a few tips and pointers they are usually swaddle masters.

Studies have shown that putting your baby to bed while they are drowsy will provide them with the most restful deep sleep periods. However, as adults our deep sleep hits is greatest stride when we literally are so tired that we pass out. This should be NO problem for a new parent.