Sleep cycles for babies

Sleeping: the little train of sleep

Sleep is made up of a succession of small trains that we
take on a journey

Each small train corresponds to a sleep cycle and is made up of several wagons which represent the different stages of sleep.
The length of trains (ie the duration of cycles) but also their composition, varies from age to age: for the newborn, each train
is made up of 2 wagons (1 waggon sleep wagon and a sleep wagon while in the adult, each train has 5 (2 wagons of light
slow sleep, 2 deep slow sleep wagons, 1 rapid eye movement sleep wagon).

From birth to 2 months
The trains are short and numerous, and
traveling (sleeping periods
including one or more trains)
spread throughout the 24
hours. Baby begins his journey
by restless sleep and pursues him by
calm sleep. After 50 minutes,
between 2 trains, the baby is everything
near the awakening, in a period of
intermediate sleep (very sleep
very light).

From 2 to 6/9 months
Trains are longer (70 minutes about).
The restless sleep becomes, from 2 months,
rapid eye movement sleep comparable to
that of the adult (dream sleep).
The quiet sleep wagon is
transforms into 2 sleep wagons slow.
The journeys become
gradually longer at night (12
hours on average, 10 to 12 trains).

During the day, trips are shorter and are interspersed with more and more long awakenings.

Agitated sleep (rapid eye movement sleep equivalent of the adult)
The baby’s face is animated by small movements, his breathing is irregular, the activity of
his brain is intense. He may have bodily movements during which he becomes
red, stretches, growls. Sometimes he can open his eyes for a moment. It lasts a few
seconds to 1 to 2 minutes and it calms down.

Quiet sleep (equivalent to slow sleep)
The baby is still, his eyes are closed without eye movements, his face is relaxed.
Sometimes he has periodic sucking movements. His breathing is calm and regular.

Keywords : sleep / little train of sleep / baby / baby rhythm

Seven Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. Putting baby to bed too late
When babies and toddlers are over tired, they have a hard time falling and remaining asleep. They also tend to wake up earlier than if you had put them to bed on time. 
It is important to establish a bedtime routine and respect it every night.

2. Not allowing baby to fall asleep alone
Maybe your child is just having a bad dream and they will quickly go back to sleep. Be patient and do not rush to pick them up, or stay in the room until baby falls asleep again. The more you do this, the more they won’t go back to sleep without you.

3. Putting a sleeping baby in their crib

Putting a baby to bed after they have fallen asleep should be avoided at all costs. It’s confusing for baby to wake up in their cradle, when the last thing they remember is being snuggled up to you. When baby partially wakes up, sometimes after 15-20 minutes after being put down in their crib, they will realize that they are no longer snug in your arms and will cry out for you. You must put baby to bed either awake or drowsy so that they can develop the skills they need to fall asleep alone.

4. Forgetting the bedtime ritual

With a very young baby, an ideal bedtime routine consists of a bath, a cuddle and a story (or whatever suits you best). When your baby grows, you might feel they are too old for a routine, or that you no longer want to repeat it night after night. However, is important to continue to offer pleasing, quiet activities before bedtime. They prepare baby for a sound sleep.

5. Taking baby in your bed
Co-sleeping is both a bad habit and dangerous. Many sudden infant deaths are caused by this practice (unless it is done in accordance with basic safety rules).

6. Always offering a pacifier
You can, of course, give baby a pacifier before falling asleep, but giving it all the time to prevent tears at night is not necessarily a good idea. A baby who is used to a pacifier risks experiencing real difficulty falling back to sleep when they lose it. Each time the pacifier is lost is a reason for baby to wake up to look for it.

7. Inducing sleep with syrups or pills

There are no medicines adapted to help baby to fall asleep. Giving baby sleeping pills may seriously jeopardize brain development so is strongly discouraged.

Bedtime fears

All children are afraid of the dark, monsters, storms, etc. Childhood fears create experiences that make kids grow, provided they are handled well. Slowly but surely, you can help your child overcome their fears.

What do children fear?
Here are some common fears by age:
• 8 months: separation anxiety (fear of strangers, fear of abandonment, etc.)

• 1 year: noises (vacuum cleaner, telephone, blender, etc.)

• 18 months: monsters or the dark. Whereas before, they slept with the lights off and the door closed, children will now ask to keep the door open. They realize that, alone in the dark, they no longer can see familiar things and feel threatened.

• From 2 to 4 years: transient fears (large animals, especially if there are none at home, storms, clowns, imaginary creatures such as witches, ghosts or robots). These fears are sometimes transmitted by others if they overact to certain things or situations.

• From 5 to 12 years: specific fears (insects, robbers and kidnappers, doctors, dentists, fear of heights, accidents). Children may also be afraid of natural disasters or war, due to troubling pictures on the news on television. This is also the age of when social fears, resembling those of adults (rejection at school, speaking in public, etc.) arise.

How to react to nocturnal fears?
Learning to face their fears is an important step in children’s development. Gradually, over the course of their experiences, children learn to distinguish harmless situations from those that are actually dangerous. This can greatly increase their confidence. Therefore, you play a crucial role in helping them gently and gradually to overcome their fears. Your attitude as a parent can make all the difference. Here are some helpful tips to guide you:
• Take your child’s fear seriously, without making fun of, or scolding them. Even if it appears irrational or seems trivial, their fear is real.
• Reinforce courage. Remind your child of situations when they are not afraid, or of others when they managed to overcome their fear.
• Decode their signs of fear. Without naming them, your child can show that they are afraid when they hide, close their eyes, etc.
• Encourage expression of emotions. Help your child to express their emotions so that they learn to name their fears and talk about them. Words help young children take control of their emotions.

Fear of monsters

Often related to a fear of the dark, to that of being alone, and also to the development of their imagination, the fear of monsters is solved by reassuring your child and having them talk about their fear during the day or before going to sleep.
When you comfort your child when they are afraid, you help them to feel safe. This feeling gives them the courage they need to eventually confront and overcome their fears.
 Reassure them, while saying that monsters do not exist and are a figment of their imagination. You can check once under the bed with them, but no more. If you do it every time, you justify their fear.
– Establish a comforting ritual, before bedtime. For example, a bath, followed by a story or quiet games will make your child feel secure.
– The atmosphere of the room is very important :Install a small nightlight to provide a soft, soothing light. A cuddly soft toy, relaxing music, your odor impregnated on a blanket in their bed are also reassuring things for your child.
– If they wake up frightened at night , go immediately to comfort them, listen to them without interrupting, then help differentiate reality from imagination.