This is one of the topics that receives the most interest from new parents. A baby's sleep is essential during its development, and especially during its first year of life.
We all know that babies sleep for a large part of the day but...did you know that their brain remains fully active for half of that time? This is a curiosity that not everyone knows and that can help you understand how your baby's sleep works. Sometimes you may be surprised by the amount of time you sleep, as sometimes it reaches 16 hours.
When sleeping, the baby's body performs essential functions for its optimal development. A baby's sleep intervenes in the maturation of his brain. This means that, when you sleep, your intellectual abilities are reinforced. Additionally, during sleeping hours, the body secretes more of a hormone known as “growth hormone” (HGH). In babies, the production levels of this hormone are normally very high, and therefore sleeping also helps them grow.
Baby sleep is made up of only two phases, unlike adult sleep which consists of 5 phases. Those two phases of baby sleep are the REM phase and the non-REM phase. In the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase, the brain remains active, with electrical activity similar to that of the waking state. On the other hand, during the non-REM phase, the baby rests both physically and mentally.
Additionally, babies can fall asleep directly into REM sleep. Therefore, you should not be surprised if, when your baby falls asleep, he immediately begins the movements typical of this phase of sleep. The rapid movement of the eyes, irregular breathing and, in some cases, grimaces or facial gesticulations, are reflex movements that the baby makes without realizing it.
During the first year of life, a baby's sleep evolves naturally until it adapts to adult sleep patterns. Of course, not all babies develop at the same rate or have the same needs. The normal thing is that, little by little, the baby learns to distinguish night from day and identify hours of darkness as times to sleep.