A sleep regression is when a baby wakes up more frequently throughout the night or has a hard time napping. When a baby develops through a major stage, like learning to flip over, crawl, or pull up, this can happen. Fortunately, the changes won’t last forever. Once they adapt to their new skill, sleep patterns should return to normal.
You may have heard of the 4-month sleep regression and dreaded having to go through it with your kid. The fact is that this is a stage of growth and sleep maturation. It might be difficult, but it’s a sign that your baby’s body is getting ready to sleep in more consistent patterns. Between the ages of 3 and 5, most babies go through the 4-month sleep regression. Around 3-3.5 months, you’ll start to see improvements, and by 5 months, you’ll be able to work on a more consistent schedule and sleep balance, if that’s your aim.
When your baby is eager to hit the milestone of rolling or flipping over, waking up more frequently throughout the night, and having a difficult time settling down for naptime or bedtime.
As your baby gets older, she will be able to observe her surroundings more. Having a lot to see and play with keeps them awake at night when it becomes difficult to sleep since they are curious about everything they see. Many times, even the baby clothes they wear to make them wonder.
Sleeping pattern of newborn babies
Sleeping patterns for newborns are straightforward, with two different phases. Non-REM sleep is also known as “silent” sleep, whereas REM sleep is sometimes known as “active” sleep. You may observe them twitching, breathing erratically, smiling, and their eyes moving underneath their eyelids during REM (active) sleep. When your baby is breathing deeply and resting extremely motionless, he or she is in non-REM (quiet) sleep.
Changes that occur in the system
Many changes in the body occur during the sleep regression:
- Melatonin production in your infant is increasing! Melatonin is a sleep hormone that signals to the body that it is time to sleep. Previously, your baby’s system dictated their wake/sleep pattern more than anything else.
- Non-REM sleep is splitting even further. There are now four phases, with some “deep” sleep times being lighter than others.
- During sleep cycles, partial awakenings occur. These awakenings usually happen once a sleep cycle and are meant to safeguard our infant (we have them, too!). Your baby wakes up to check their environment and make sure they are secure and that their needs are being addressed.
These awakenings are a major cause of sleep disturbances. Your infant normally wakes up for a physical need such as feeding, diaper change, or comfort before reaching this developmental milestone. But today, even if they don’t require anything, they are having these awakenings. This is when newborns begin to build sleep connections.
When your infant falls asleep, the brain interprets the signals as a stimulus to sleep. When your infant is partially awake but has no physical need, their body will require the signal to return to sleep. You may find that your baby has more night wakings, shorter naps, and it is more difficult to put them to sleep as they mature.
Your baby’s sleep schedule will now be comparable to yours after the sleep shift. As they become older, their sleep cycles will extend, and you’ll see a natural shift to more night sleep and less daytime sleep as a result of nap transitions and longer awake hours.
Partial awakenings, on the other hand, are still a component of the sleep cycle, and sleep signals can become stronger. Even after the sleep regression has gone, parents may realize that their baby is still waking up often at night and taking short naps.
Make your bub more comfy and warm with organic baby blankets. Working on the cues that your baby uses to fall asleep at the start of the night will significantly reduce night wakings since your baby will have new methods for returning to sleep.
Tips to get through the sleep shift
- Between sleep cycles, use suitable waking times. Overtired and under tired babies, for example, may wake up more frequently and/or take shorter naps.
- To allow for an early bedtime, follow the wake windows. For example, about 5-6 months after the sleep shift, a bedtime between 6 and 8 p.m. is extremely common.
- Take your last snooze of the day at 5:30 p.m. This sets the tone for a relaxing night’s sleep.
- Set up the space to promote the flow of sleep cycles and the production of sleep hormones.
- Consistent procedures should be prioritized. Routines act as a clock for your infant, signaling the brain to create sleep chemicals and prepare for sleep.
- Even a little extra comfort can make a big difference during the 4-month sleep regression. You can keep her calm and cozy by wrapping them in a light swaddle or sleeping bag.
- Despite only being temporary, the 4-month sleep regression can be terribly exhausting. Don’t forget to look after yourself. Getting overtired can actually be contagious to your baby.