Why is My Baby Not Sleeping Deeply

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There can be several reasons behind a baby being unable to sleep deeply. The sleeping patterns of a baby are very different from that of adults. In comparison to the sleeping schedule of adults, it is very different how babies wake up and fall asleep. They may wake up several times during the night or might struggle to fall asleep. Moreover, every baby has different sleeping patterns. It depends on several environmental and external factors. As the age of babies keeps increasing, their sleeping patterns undergo major changes. As babies grow up, they start adapting to a specific sleep schedule. In this article we are going to discuss the sleeping patterns or schedules of babies and the reasons for which your baby is not sleeping deeply. 

Age of babies and their sleeping patterns

The sleeping patterns of babies differ according to their age groups.

Newborn babies (0-3 months) might not sleep more than 1 or 2 hours at a time. This continues until they are 3 months old. During the first few months, newborn babies need to be fed frequently which is why they wake up quite often. Newborn babies need about 11 weeks to get adjusted to the daylight and night-time schedule or the sleep and wake-up schedule because it takes time for them to adapt to the changes outside the womb. 

Babies between the age of 3-6 months might get adapted to a sleep schedule but they might not keep sleeping deeply all throughout the night. While some reports say that swaddling a baby can help them to fall asleep while other reports say quite the opposite. According to them, it is not safe to swaddle a baby especially when they're trying to roll, and makes it harder for them to fall asleep. Babies between the age of 3-6 months need approximately 14-15 hours of sleep, every day out of which they need 4-5 hours of sleep during the day. 

When it comes to babies who are older than 6 months, they might start sleeping for 10 hours or even longer at night. All together, they need approximately 14 hours of sleep every day. However, if their usual routine is disrupted because of certain external factors or some reason, it might affect the sleeping schedule of the babies. 

 

Sleeping patterns of babies depending on their age 

Age

Hours of sleep required

0-3 months

16 hours per day with 8 hours of sleep during the day

3-6 months

14-15 hours per day with 4-5 hours of sleep during the day

More than 6 months 

14 hours per day with 10 hours or more in the night

 

Reasons behind why your baby is not sleeping deeply 

There might be several issues that can affect the sleeping schedule of your baby. These are discussed as follows: 

  • Discomfort: One of the most important reasons behind your baby being unable to sleep deeply might be because of the pain the baby is experiencing. Discomforts, even if it is minor, can severely affect the sleep of your baby. A wet diaper that causes irritation, scratchy clothes which are uncomfortable, or a room that is too hot or too cold might be a few reasons why your baby is not getting the sleep it needs. 
  • Exhaustion: Babies, if too tired or exhausted, may struggle to fall asleep. They may need extra help, such as rocking or nursing, to fall asleep. It is important for a constant napping schedule to be maintained to prevent exhaustion even if you are traveling or during other times of disruption, such as holidays.
  • Separation anxiety: Every baby has a different personality. It is highly probable that a baby might develop separation anxiety because babies tend to grow a connection or get attached to the care and love they receive from their parents or the caregivers. This leads to the growth of separation anxiety and this makes it difficult for them to fall asleep.
  • Hunger: Hunger is another very common reason behind a baby not being able to sleep. Babies would wake up as soon as they feel hungry or need to be fed. Babies need to be fed frequently which is why they wake up frequently as well. Babies often show cues of hunger such as smacking the lips, sticking out the tongue and sucking on the hands. It might not mean that doing these would always mean that they are hungry indeed. However these are certain common cues that show a baby might be hungry, as a result of which they might wake up. 
  • Issues with sleep schedule: If a baby is made to fall asleep at different times on different days, it might disrupt their sleep schedule to a great extent. It should be ensured that a specific sleeping and waking up schedule is maintained for the babies so that they can get adapted to it. As they grow, their sleeping patterns might change on their own which is not a problem. The best way to prevent the sleeping schedule of babies being disrupted is to maintain a sleeping ritual such as singing a lullaby or playing a song and then maintain the ritual consistently. 
  • Change in sleeping environment: If the sleeping environment of a baby changes such as transitioning from a bassinet to the crib, it will definitely affect the sleep and wake-up schedule of the baby. They might experience loneliness, discomfort, or fear because of the change. The best way out of this is to make sure that the baby feels comfortable in the new sleeping environment. Please make sure that there are no unwanted objects that might cause discomfort for the baby. Changing sleeping habits and environment frequently should be avoided at all costs. 

Follow these tips to get a baby to sleep safely

There can be several reasons behind a baby being unable to sleep deeply. However, following a few tips can help you to get your baby to sleep safely and deeply. These are as follows: 

  • It is recommended that whenever you place your baby down from your lap, place them down in the same place to sleep.
  • Establishing a sleep routine is extremely helpful. This can be done by taking up a sleeping ritual such as singing a lullaby or playing a song for the baby.
  • Making sure that they have the proper amount of food. If their hunger is not satisfied, the baby will not be able to fall asleep.
  • In case of serious problems, you can offer the baby a pacifier under the recommendations of a healthcare provider.
  • Dress a baby in comfortable and light clothing. Make sure the quality of the cloth is not itchy or irritating for the skin of the baby. Overheating increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Putting the baby to sleep on their back can also be helpful in certain cases
  • Although some reports say swaddling is harmful to young babies, it actually is effective for certain babies, especially before bedtime
  • Rocking the bed or swinging the crib can help babies fall asleep easily
  • If the baby is experiencing any kind of pain, please consult a doctor as soon as possible.

When should you see a doctor? 

Generally, newborn babies have irregular sleeping schedules. It takes time for the circadian rhythm to adjust to the external environment. If your baby is experiencing trouble falling asleep, it does not necessarily mean that it is a serious problem. However, if you notice that the disturbed sleeping schedule is actually causing serious problems for the baby and the tips mentioned above are not working effectively, you can definitely consult a pediatrician. If the baby is not getting the sleep that is required for their age or measures such as maintaining a sleep schedule or a sleeping ritual are not working, you might want to consult a pediatrician to improve the health of your baby. If the sleeping problems bring about several other disorders along with it such as depression and mental health issues or if the baby is in pain and is not well, it is better to consult a doctor as soon as possible. 

Conclusion

There can be several reasons behind a baby being unable to sleep deeply. The sleeping patterns of a baby are very different from that of adults. In comparison to the sleeping schedule of adults, it is very different how babies wake up and fall asleep. They may wake up several times during the night or might struggle to fall asleep. Moreover, every baby has different sleeping patterns. If your baby is experiencing trouble falling asleep, it does not necessarily mean that it is a serious problem. Establishing a sleep routine, taking up a sleeping ritual such as singing a lullaby or playing a song, Putting the baby to sleep on their back can also be helpful in certain cases, and dressing them in comfortable clothes can be helpful. However, if the baby is not getting the sleep that is required for their age or the necessary tips are not working, you should consult a paediatrician. If the baby is in pain and is not well, it is better to consult a doctor as soon as possible. We hope you found this article helpful. 



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