Everyone needs to sleep, especially infants. Sleep is an important activity of the brain during early development. Circadian rhythms, (sleep-wake cycle), are regulated by light and dark and these rhythms take time to develop, which is why newborns have such an irregular sleep schedule. The rhythms begin to develop at about six weeks, and by three to six months most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle. A child will spend 40 percent of his or her childhood asleep. Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts cognitive and physical development.
Healthy sleep requires
The right amount of sleep- Children require a sufficient amount of sleep for their physical and mental development. The right amount of sleep varies by age and individual needs
Quality sleep - Children require uninterrupted sleep that allows them to progress through the necessary stages of sleep. Quality of sleep is just as important as quantity of sleep for healthy development.
The proper number of age-appropriate naps - Naps are an important factor contributing to healthy sleep in children, impacting cognitive functioning and development.
A sleep schedule that is in sync with the child's natural biological rhythms (internal clock or circadian rhythm) - Sleep at different times of the day have different functions, making timing of naps very important to healthy sleep.
Tips for Implementing Healthy Sleep Habits with Infants and Toddlers
Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules.
Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine.
Establish a regular "sleep friendly" environment.
Encourage baby to fall asleep independently.
Don't bring baby into your bed to solve sleep issues ( this is different than purposeful co-sleeping)