In the first year of an infant's life,…
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In the first year of an infant's life, parents lose more than 700 hours of sleep

December 28, 2018 • By Shirley Marie Bradby

Those who have children have learned the hard way and at their own expense that, very young babies have the delightful habit of waking up repeatedly during the night. 

Although every newborn baby is unique, even in their nocturnal rhythms, this constant rule has always been shared by almost all new parents.

In fact, from one day to the next, parents suddenly find themselves spending their nights without sleep and their days as barely functioning zombies

If it is true that the newborn babies suck all the energy out of their parents, then they undoubtedly start with depriving their parents of their hours of sleep --- 700, to be precise, according to a research study.

image: maxpixel

 The research was carried out by the European Sleep Care Institute (ESCI - Instituto Europeo de Calidad del Sueño) - and found that in the first year of a child's life their parents lose more than 700 hours of sleep - which equates to an average decrease of two hours of sleep per night for the first 12 months. 

It may seem strange if you think that a baby sleeps about 18 - 20 hours a day - but not for their parents because babies do not differentiate between day and night. Moreover, the waking hours obviously lengthen over time, but up to at least 12 months, babies tend to wake up often at night and this is not exactly encouraging or reassuring information for those who are planning to have a baby!

Specifically, the study showed that more than half of newborn babies wake up once or twice a night, 20% three times, and 13% four or more times. There remains a 15% of "little angels", namely, babies who sleep the whole night long --- to the great joy of their mom and dad.

image: maxpixel

The nocturnal awakenings of newborn babies are absolutely normal. In fact, their sleep pattern consists of only two phases (REM and deep sleep), unlike adults who have five phases. As they grow up, babies develop the other phases, but they must learn to use them; and, it is for this reason that their sleep is unstable.

This means not only that they can even wake up more often than before, but also that these nocturnal awakenings continue to happen to them up to 3 years of age - and consequently, also to their parents. 

The solution? A lot of patience. And here are some tips that can sometimes be useful: bathing and massaging your baby before going to bed, co-sleeping, and allowing the baby to fall asleep on the mother's breasts --- or any other method that has proven to be effective, even if it only procures for the parents a couple more hours of sleep!


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