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  • Liza Perez, RPSGT

Bedtime Routine for Infants and Young Children: Involving Sleep Sounds and Reading

How long do infants sleep?

Infants sleep about 16-17 hours per day. They will often fall asleep after drinking milk/formula, and in about 90 min to 3 hrs, the cycle starts again. The 90 min cycles of feeding and sleeping are pretty regular in most healthy infants. Sometimes using certain sleep sounds can help a new baby fall asleep and make it easier to put him/her down for nap time. Most infants will be able to sleep longer stretches by 3 months. Nightly feedings may still occur, but may only occur once throughout the night.

Mom and baby sleep

Parents sleeping with new baby

Once baby is asleep, this is a good opportunity for new parents to get some sleep as well. Though this is easier said then done. Experiencing a polyphasic sleep pattern due to caring for the new baby is common and can lead to feeling sleep deprived. Infants do eventually get older, and no longer need midnight feedings, but may wake due to teething. Sometimes toddlers may come into their parents bed in the middle of the night due to nightmares. There are many reasons as to why parents can’t sleep. Establishing a family bedtime routine and incorporating activities such as reading, bath time, and sleep sounds can help to ensure uninterrupted sleep for children.

Routine, Routine, Routine

Getting infants and children to bed, consistently, usually involves a bedtime routine that includes activities like reading, creating a soothing environment with an ideal room temperature and baby sleep sounds, to help encourage sleep. Sleep times can be moved up depending on the previous night’s successes and a scheduled wake time also helps. Consistent sleep routines help infants and children transition into a normalized sleeping pattern throughout the year. The night time routine will have to be tweaked and changed throughout the years, but helping children sleep well sets them up for restorative adolescent and adult sleep.

baby sleeping

Sleep disturbances in children

When infants and young children are not sleeping well despite keeping consistent sleep routines, there may be a sleep disorder to blame. Speaking to a pediatrician is the first step to discussing child sleep issues, he/she will be best able to determine if the lack of sleep is due to a sleep disorder. Bedtime problems are common in 20-30% of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Studies have also shown that sleep problems occurring in infancy may persist into preschool and grade school and may become chronic. Using sleep sounds may help reduce sleep disruption and/or insufficient sleep. Disrupted sleep has negative effects on a child’s cognitive development, mood regulation, attention, and behavior, as well as health and overall quality of life. Sleep monitoring is available for children and can be done in the home. Actigraphy (monitoring movement) and video may be all that is needed to determine certain sleep disorders.


About the Author:

We are thrilled to have Liza Perez of Clinique Somnomed as our guest blogger this week.

If you think you or your child may have a sleep disorder, or are experiencing any difficulty with getting to sleep, staying asleep, staying awake during the day, or have any other sleep related questions, feel free to contact Clinique Somnomed. ( ) We provide quick and convenient sleep testing in your home, in and around the greater Montreal area. We test patients every year for sleep disorders both common and rare.

Lisa is not affiliated with Fade Away Sleep Sounds.

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