Let’s look at how sleep cycles work.
Knowing what a sleep cycle is can help you to understand your child’s sleep.
So what is a sleep cycle?
A sleep cycle starts with light sleep, they go into deep sleep and then back into light sleep. During the day a sleep cycle lasts around 40 minutes. Overnight they have one long one sleep cycle for around 4 hours and then it is every 2-3 hours.
When do they start?
Between 10 and 16 weeks newborns go through the dreaded 4 month regression. This is when the sleep cycles become defined. Once the sleep cycles change, they stay this way.
Day sleep cycles
During the day a child’s sleep cycle is around 40 minutes. It starts with a light sleep, then into a deep sleep before coming back into a light sleep.
Overnight sleep cycles
Overnight the sleep cycles are little different. Overnight children have one big sleep from 7pm to about 10.30pm, this is the deepest sleep of the night. After the first big sleep the sleep cycles change to 2-3 hours.
How it can affect your little ones sleep?
If your little one is cat napping or waking every 2-3 hours overnight they are likely waking at the end of each sleep cycle needing help to get back to sleep. If your little one is waking at the end of each sleep cycle it may be time to look at your little ones sleep association’s.