As you may know, children, including babies, need sleep just as much as adults do, if not more. Though some of the effects of sleep deprivation in adults are either not relevant to or not observable in infants, some are, especially crankiness. A cranky baby is no joy to be around.
You know your baby needs plenty of sleep to grow and be healthy and happy. And by getting on a sleep schedule similar to your baby’s, you can both benefit. But unfortunately, babies don’t come equipped with sleep buttons or on/off switches. As we all know, getting a baby to sleep isn’t as easy as turning off a stereo or putting your computer into sleep mode, but there are ways.
Fortunately, however, there are things you can do to help your baby get the rest he needs and help the other members of your family have a peaceful night’s sleep at the same time. You need to be prepared for the possibility that your baby’s first few nights or even her first few weeks will include more wakeful time than you would like. In one study, researchers observed newborn babies to find out just how many hours per day they slept. Babies in the study slept an average of two-thirds of the time, about sixteen hours per day. Yet that is merely an average. Some babies in the study slept as little as nine hours per day; while at the other extreme, some slept for twenty-one hours.