Many parents complain that their baby wakes up at night. Waking up at seven in the morning to go to work despite being sleep deprived further adds to their misery. Why does your child wake up at night though? Here are a few reasons that might actually be the issue –
1) His biological rhythm
In the initial four months of your baby’s life, he has no concept of day and night. The human homeostatic sleep drive begins early in the morning, makes us sleepy in the afternoon and puts us to sleep in the night. It is a biological process which is countered by the circadian alerting system whose function is to keep us awake. For a baby, often these two meet at the end of the day and your child enters a zone where it becomes impossible for him to sleep. You might try to put your child to sleep forcibly, but that hardly works. Rather you should let him tire himself out so that he goes to sleep. When your child reaches five years of age, his cycle will automatically stabilize.
2) His sleep cycle
Adults and babies sleep differently. A sleep cycle consists of moving from light sleep to deep sleep. Adults’ cycles are approximately ninety minutes each and they smoothly transition from one cycle to another. Babies’ cycles are around forty five minutes each and they tend to wake up between two cycles. The light sleep cycle of a baby is an advantage as the baby can warn his parents if something is making him uncomfortable. The temperature might not be perfect for him, he might have a wet nappy, he might be choking on something or he might not be able to breathe properly. A lot of things can happen which might lead to cot death. A light sleep cycle enables your child to alert you just in case something is making him uncomfortable.
3) His developing brain
When your child is a born his brain is only twenty five percent developed. It develops completely in the first few years of his life. If you want to help build a good number of synaptic pathways make sure that he gets ample night time nursing on a frequent basis and the essential fatty acids. As your baby learns to crawl and walk his need for night time feedings might increase even more and become more frequent. How well your baby sleeps is a function of his/her developmental stage, which is a natural part of growing up, hence, don’t sweat about your baby’s sleep so much.
It might get tiresome having to wake up at regular intervals during the night. But as your child grows, his cycle will stabilize and you’ll get that much needed peaceful night time sleep as well.