Day and night confusion is a real thing!
Have you heard your friends say their baby is sleeping a lot during the day and getting very little sleep (or waking up often) at night? They are most likely talking about day and night confusion.
As parents, we will take any sleep we can get, which is why it seems wonderful if your baby is sleeping a lot during the day. We get to do stuff around the house and maybe even take a nap. But when nighttime comes and the baby is up playing in the crib, the fun is over for mama and papa!
Day and night confusion has a lot to do with the circadian rhythm, our internal clock that regulates our sleeping and waking patterns.When babies are born, their biological clocks are not yet synchronized with the external 24-hour cycle of daylight and darkness.
It takes weeks for a baby to develop his or her circadian rhythm, which explains why babies often sleep for long stretches during the day and are wide awake at night! But don’t worry: by the time your baby is a few weeks old, things will get better.
When babies are born, their biological clocks are not yet synchronized with the external 24-hour cycle of daylight and darkness. It takes weeks for a baby to develop his or her circadian rhythm, which explains why babies often sleep for long stretches during the day and are wide awake at night! But don’t worry: by the time your baby is a few weeks old, things will get better.
When should you wake up your baby?
When it comes to day and night confusion, the easiest way to support your baby is to monitor naps and help him regulate his sleeping patterns. If your baby is sleeping more than two or three hours during the day, wake him up. This is good for three reasons:
- If she is a newborn, she will
mostlylikely need a feeding every two or three hours, anyway!
- We want to encourage him to sleep more at night and support his little body in the effort to do so.
- By waking her up, she will eat more during the day and save some sleep for the nighttime, when the sleep is more restorative.
Here are a few things you can do to gently help your baby change his napping habits:
- When your baby is awake, expose her to natural light—maybe take a walk!
- Make daytime fun, stimulating, and playful.
- At night, keep interactions to a minimum and make them quiet and boring.
- Try to keep the bedroom dark as much as possible, even during a diaper change.
- Use a white noise machine during sleep times. This one is my favorite!
These simple techniques teach your baby that nighttime is for calm and quiet while daytime is for play and interaction (with short naps, of course!).
At around eight weeks old, your baby’s sleep will become more organized and predictable. Your little one will most likely be able to distinguish between night and day, and to start napping in a dark environment. They will be able to sleep for longer periods of time at night, around four to five hours. The day and night confusion should fade slowly by slowly.
Some babies take longer to find their rhythm than others. The best thing you can do to facilitate that transition is to have a consistent routine, and be patient! Remember, every child is different, and they are all wonderful the way they are.
Day and night confusion is very common; fortunately, there are ways to help our babies sleep longer at night and play during the day! We have to be patient and support our little ones as they learn the difference between night and day.
If you have any questions about day and night confusion or any other sleep concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at 702-355-5082! You can also purchase my sleep training program to help your baby sleep better at night.
As Always, Sleeping Babies = Happy Families