The importance of sleep—for you and your baby

The importance of sleep—for you and your baby

It might not look like it, but while your child is sleeping they're actually doing a lot of work. As a newborn, their brain is storing memories, replenishing energy, forming synapses, and more. As they get older, their brains continue to develop during sleep—directly affecting their cognitive functions. 

A lack of sleep for your child could mean: 

  • They have trouble regulating their emotions (aka more tantrums and less patience)
  • They’re slow to wake up in the morning
  • Behavioral problems at home and/or school
  • They have difficulty concentrating and focusing 
  • They make poor decisions 
  • They take longer or excessive naps 
  • They become overtired and have trouble falling asleep 
  • They’re more prone to accidents during play time 
  • A higher risk of obesity and high blood pressure

In other words, sleep is REALLY important for your child. And not just in the short term either. Studies have shown that not getting adequate sleep as a child can lead to physical, behavioral, and mental health issues down the road (think: obesity, high blood pressure, reckless behavior, etc.) 

On the flip side, making sure your child gets enough sleep from day 1 has some incredible benefits—both short and long term. 

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Getting enough sleep can help your child: 

  • Maintain energy throughout the day
  • Strengthen their immune system (something we all want right now!)
  • Be more creative
  • Master problem solving skills
  • Increase their attention span
  • Lower their risk for obesity and high blood pressure

So basically, if you want your child to grow up healthy, do well in school, and be emotionally stable, you need to make sure they're getting enough sleep every day. 

Learn how much sleep your baby needs from newborn to 3+ years

And let’s not forget—sleep is just as important for your health as it is for your baby’s. That’s right, I’m talking to you mamas.

Only 10% of parents get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night once they have kids. In the first year alone, parents lose 44 days worth of sleep. And guess what? Pulling those all-nighters is not as easy as it was in college. 

Sleep-deprivation in new parents can cause: 

  • Postpartum depression or anxiety
  • Weight gain
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Low self-esteem
  • Moodiness
  • Trouble concentrating

And more! But most importantly, you can’t be the parent you want to be when you’re exhausted. 

Now that we know why sleep is important, so let’s get to the good stuff: how to make it happen. 

5 tips for better sleep for baby and you

  • Start a bedtime routine ASAP

No matter how old your child is, a calming bedtime routine can help them (and you!) get relaxed and ready for bed. 

  • Create the perfect sleep environment

Don’t underestimate the power of black out curtains. Learn how to turn your baby’s room into a sleep sanctuary here

  • Don’t overdo it

This goes for baby and you. Keeping your baby awake too long during the day will not help them sleep longer at night. Naps are essential to getting night time sleep on track. And don’t be afraid to take a snooze yourself when your child goes down during the day—your to-do list can wait. Prioritize rest.

  • Sleep train

Remember how I said 10% of parents are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night? If you want to be part of the 10% instead of the 90% that aren’t getting enough sleep, teaching your baby how to become an independent sleeper is essential. This guide can help you do it. 

  • Ask for help

We all need a little help sometimes, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. In fact, I’d love nothing more than to help your family start sleeping better. Reach out. 

Sources: 

https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/science-why-kids-need-early-bedtimes

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/new-baby-no-sleep-tips-ease-transition

https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#1

https://www.mother.ly/news/sleep-1

https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/ACH-News/General-News/The-importance-of-sleep-for-kids