Why Sleep Matters So Much for Babies

sleep matters

sleep matters

Are you familiar with the saying “sleep like a baby”? If you have a baby, you know that sleeping like a baby is certainly not something to aspire to! Talk to any new parent and sleep is sure to be a topic of conversation.

How much (or how little) your baby is sleeping is a huge focus of the first year of your baby’s life. And while the importance of sleep doesn’t stop when your baby turns one, the first year, and the first few months especially, can be particularly trying when it comes to sleep and your baby.

Getting enough sleep matters for babies and adults, albeit for different reasons. We all know that adults need plenty of sleep in order to function, go to work, and meet their daily responsibilities, but do you know why sleep matters so much for babies?

Keep reading to find out.

Why Sleep Matters

Sleep is a huge part of the development of babies and children. While they sleep, somatotrophin is released. This is a growth hormone that is secreted through the pituitary gland.

80% of it is released when a baby or child is in non-REM sleep, so if babies aren’t getting their daily sleep requirements, particularly at night, then their growth and physical development can be inhibited.

Not only can lack of sleep inhibit growth and development, it can also impact the maturation of infants’ brains. Babies who spend a greater percentage of nighttime actually asleep have higher cognitive scores.

Well-rested babies also have easier temperaments, are more approachable, and more adaptable. This holds true for older children as well.

A missed nap or a restless night can have significant impacts on a baby’s or child’s behavior and temperament the next day.

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need

A quick Internet search will return countless sleep charts or recommendations on how much sleep children need. Some children need more sleep than others, just like adults.

As babies get older, their sleep needs vary, but very young babies need more sleep than they do awake time. Babies from birth to two months old should be getting around 17 hours of sleep, divided between nighttime sleep and naps during the day.

Sleep is used as a time for babies to recharge and develop. During active sleep, the baby’s development is occurring. Some experts believe that during deep sleep, or non-REM sleep, development is happening deep within the brain.

The Bottom Line

Sleep is good for everyone, adults, babies, and children alike. Although the benefits of sleep vary based on your age, sleep matters at all stages of life.

As a new parent, or even a veteran parent, working to ensure that your baby and older children get enough sleep is necessary in order to help them develop and grow.

Make sure your children are getting plenty of sleep at night and naps during the day to ensure that their development stays on track.

One way you can help your baby sleep is with a proper crib mattress. Check out our crib mattress 101 to learn more about what you should be looking for. Our buying guide is full of reviews and recommendations on the best crib mattress for your little one.