As a guide to help parents with infants, WASM has partnered with Pampers to distribute “Golden Sleep Principles” under the theme “Care for Baby’s Golden Sleep”. Sleep is a vital part of our overall health and wellbeing. In addition to providing rest and rejuvenation, sleep significantly improves physical, mental and emotional functioning. By following these recommendations, parents will help their baby and themselves obtain quality sleep.
1. Healthy brains depend on healthy sleep
Scientific studies have shown that the average newborn baby sleeps for 16 to 20 hours every day. A one-month-old baby sleeps more than 14 hours a day in six bouts. And, by the time they are a year old, most babies sleep about 11 hours a day during four sleep bouts. (Lampi, 2011). Babies need at least this much sleep to be able to form connections in their brains and nervous systems that help them to learn now and as they are older.
2. Healthy bodies also depend on healthy sleep
Sleep is also important to for babies to develop strong healthy bodies. During sleep, especially during the first hour after babies fall asleep at night, their brains release a substance called growth hormone. (Finkelstein JW, 1971) Babies need this substance to grow. If babies don’t sleep enough, they don’t release enough of the hormone and they don’t grow properly.
3. A cozy sleep environment
Babies sleep most comfortably in a cool, dark, quiet room that is between 20°C and 25°C and with a humidity level between 60% and 70%. A room that is too cold causes babies to shiver to try to stay warm, which might disturb their sleep. If the humidity is too low, babies’ noses dry out, making it hard for them to breathe. A room that is too hot or humid will make babies sweat, which may also disturb their sleep. It is important to choose sleeping clothes that keep your baby warm but do not overheat him or her. (Moon RY, 2011)
4. A helping hand
Babies move a lot when they sleep¾up to 10 times as often as adults. Babies move for a number of reasons, including in response to stimulation, such as loud noises, touch, pain, colic, and urination (Zotter H, 2006). Activity levels in their brains increase during these times, but babies often remain asleep if no other stimulation occurs. Because babies move so often, it is important that their diaper is snug enough to not allow seepage.
5. Bedtime routine
Your baby will fall asleep more easily if you follow a regular bedtime routine. This routine should include quiet, nonstimulating activities. There are various options or possibilities such as giving your baby a warm bath followed by a gentle massage, reading quietly to your baby, turning down the lights, playing music quietly, but finally you should put the baby to bed in a quiet, dark room. If you follow the same routine night after night, your baby will begin to connect these activities with going to sleep and will sleep better.
6. Sleeping alone
To help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, it is very important that your baby sleep in his or her own bed on a firm mattress without any loose blankets or loose clothing and to be put to sleep on his or her back. If your baby shares your or someone else’s bed, your baby can become trapped or suffocate.
(Moon RY, 2011) The best place for your newborn baby to sleep is in your room, but in a separate area such as a crib or bassinette. As your baby gets older, you can move her or him to a separate room.
Finkelstein JW, A. T. (1971). Behavioral state, sleep stage and growth hormone levels in human infants. . J Clin Endocrinol Metab , 368-71.
Lampl M, J. M. (2011). Infant growth in length follows prolonged sleep and increased naps. Sleep , 641-50.
Moon RY, D. R. (2011). SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics , e1341-67.
Zotter H, S. W. (2006). Bladder voiding in sleeping infants is consistently accompanied by a cortical arousal. J Sleep Res 2006; 75-9.
Lampi M, Johnson, ML. infant growth in length follows prolonged sleep and increased naps Sleep. 2011 1; 34(5): 641–650.