Why is my baby a lighter sleeper now than before?

A baby’s sleep habits are always changing, but many parents find themselves surprised when their once-deep sleepers grow into babies who wake at the sound of a light breeze. It’s a pretty common evolution, even if it doesn’t feel like progress the way Baby’s other types of growth do. But what causes the change?

They have their days and nights mixed up

When they’re just born, babies can’t tell the difference between day and night, but as they get older, most of them start to figure out the fact that night is for sleeping and day is for play. But not all: there are a few babies who get a little mixed up, and start trying to party all night and sleep through the day. If your child is having some trouble making the day-night disticntion, you can help to ease them into a more regular sleep pattern by making sure they get plenty of sunlight in the afternoon, and by making sure that nighttime is as dark, boring, and un-engaging as possible, even when they wake up. You can also help them to associate darkness with sleep by drawing curtains to block out the light during naps, though some families find that keeping things bright during naptime can help to encourage children to keep naps short, and save the longer stretches of sleep for the night.

They have always been a light sleeper, they're just better at it now 

Some people are just naturally lighter sleepers. If the light-sleeping is a recent development, that could just be because, when they were first born, they couldn't quite perceive the things that are distracting them now. The more they can see and hear, the more those things will distract them, and as they learn to recognize sights and sounds more clearly, they will also grow more likely to respond to them. Baby has maybe always been a light sleeper, but it’s just nearly impossible to identify this characteristic in newborns.

They are interested in the world around them

Baby is growing more and more curious about the world every day, and since there’s so much out there to see, why would they want to sleep through it? If Baby has grown restless because of a brand new case of FOMO (fear of missing out), there’s only so much you can do about it. But even if you can’t change the world around Baby, blackout curtains and a white noise machine can help to drown it out, at least for the length of nap time, until Baby is rested up and ready to explore again!

  • “Sleep and your 4-7 month old” KidsHealth.org. The Nemours Foundation, 2017. Web.
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