Why do babies wake up at night

The vast majority of babies wake up at night, in fact, we all wake up, but as adults we have the ability to know how to go back to sleep easily and although some babies look like superheroes and are able to sleep between 10-12 hours in a row from 3-4 months, but not all babies have this same luck.

We explain why babies wake up at night Find out what may be the reason for your baby's sleep problems.

There are different scientific reasons why babies wake up at night. Between them:

1. You don't have a set circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm also known as our biological clock is governed by a 24-hour pattern of biological activities that occur in our body. The sleep-wake cycle is part of that circadian rhythm. This circadian rhythm is what regulates the release of melatonin (a hormone that helps to fall asleep) and cortisol (a hormone that helps to activate us in the morning) and is also in charge of helping to differentiate between day and night.

Until 3-4 months, babies have not yet acquired this circadian rhythm and their sleep cycles are made up of only 2 phases. (Duration of sleep cycle: 40-50 minutes).

If your baby is less than 4 months old, he probably still does not know the difference between day and night and wakes up every 40-50 minutes.

2. You have a startle reflex or a morose reflex.

This stimulus can be caused by loud sounds and can cause your baby to startle, flex his legs, and stretch his arms. It lasts only a few seconds, but it may wake your baby. Some babies can fall asleep again, but most commonly they will wake up completely. This reflex generally diminishes by 4 months. Until then, wrapping or cradling them is a good solution.

3. Does not connect one sleep cycle to another.

Sleep cycles from 4-5 months increase to 90-120 minutes and go from having 2 phases to 5.

When they go from one phase to another or change cycles they make a transition. In that transition, they may wake up and cry. It is normal for babies (and adults) to wake up 4 to 5 times in these moments of transition, however, most adults wake up, but we have the ability to fall asleep again and in the morning we do not remember that we woke up.

After 4 months, awakenings may increase due to these biological changes that babies are developing in their sleep.

4. You are hungry.

On many occasions we do not know how to differentiate if they wake up from hunger or they wake up because they do not know how to connect one sleep cycle with another. Here are some clues to know if they wake up from hunger:

  • He wakes up whining at first, then starts crying louder and louder. If your child wakes up hysterical, they are probably waking up because they are scared or confused, not because they are immediately hungry. Babies who fell asleep in arms can wake up out of place.
  • You are waking up to your daytime feeding schedule. That is, if you eat every 3 hours during the day, you will probably do the same at night. Especially babies under 4 months.
  • If you stay awake while you eat and finish the bottle or empty your breasts. If you eat little and sleep with the bottle or breast in your mouth, you probably haven't woken up from hunger. I just needed an aid to sleep.

5. It is in an evolutionary moment: Development Milestones.

It occurs when babies and young children begin to develop new skills that can cause more restlessness at bedtime as they are more aware and nervous about new things that are happening to them than about sleeping.

These sleep regressions happen when they begin to roll over and over, sit up, put objects in their mouth, stand up, walk, talk, etc.

All of these reasons can be causes of awakenings. But don't worry, they are temporary and temporary awakenings ... in no time they return to normal if you maintain good sleep habits.

6. Teeth are coming out.

Teething can really wake children up at night and disrupt their sleep. For some babies, it can be very painful and can keep you awake all night. 6 months is the average time that a baby cuts its first tooth, that means that before it can hurt and feel discomfort. Talk to your doctor about ways to relieve pain.

7. It's bad.

When they get constipated, congested, or have a cough, they are likely to wake up more often. Fever, vomiting and diarrhea will also wake them up during the night. It is important that during this time you maintain routines and good habits so that as soon as they recover they return to normal. good sleep routines.

8. Sleep in a healthy environment.

The sleeping environment is very important for a baby to relax and fall asleep better. Babies are sensitive to temperature, at certain times in the morning the temperature may change and make them feel hot or cold and wake up.

Lights can also disturb a sleeping baby, even the lights on the surveillance camera, as they interrupt the sleep-wake cycle. Lighting suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps you relax and sleep. Avoid light so that you sleep much better and do not wake up at dawn.

9. You sleep with sleep supports.

Many babies wake up several times a night, just out of habit they already have an internal alarm set. If at that moment they are given an external aid to sleep, their internal clock will cause them to wake up each night at the same time.

This awakening is the most difficult to work with, because out of our own desperation we try to make them sleep by all means using all the techniques (arms, chest, charrito, hammock, etc.)

It is important to teach healthy sleep habits from the beginning so that babies learn to sleep without sleep associations because if they always fall asleep with these aids every time they wake up they will need them.

* All these recommendations are taken from the books of the experts in children's sleep: Tracy Hogg, Elisabeth Pantley, Kim West, Rosa Jové, National Sleep Foundation and a few more.

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