Why 8 Hours Sleep May Feel Like 4 to a New Parent
So, you went to bed at 10 p.m. last night and woke up at 6 a.m. That’s 8 hours—the definition of a good night’s sleep. Then what gives? Why are you still feeling so exhausted?
If you have a baby, it’s not uncommon for their squawks and feeds to wake you up every couple of hours. The trouble with that is your brain gets stuck in light sleep, never quite getting the chance to descend into deep renewing sleep.
REM sleep – when we dream - makes up about 15% of our slumber. And NREM - the sleep that revives and renews us for the new day ahead – is about 85% of sleep.
One pivotal difference between adults and babies is that adult sleep cycles last 90 minutes while babies keep cycling up and down in just 60. Babies’ speedier cycles mean they return to very light—easily disturbed sleep—every hour. And when disturbed, they may grunt, groan…or wake fully to eat! Those disturbances often fracture our sleep cycles—right in the middle—and chip away at your NREM.
This is why I can’t stop talking about white noise. It’s a sleep saver! Rumbly white noise often prevents little outside disturbances (passing planes, ambulances, etc.) or internal irritations (teething pain, stuffy noses, etc.) from fully jarring babies every hour when they enter light sleep. Gentle rain white noise can also help you sleep, too.
The more you establish healthy sleep habits for your baby in the early days and beyond, the more you’ll set yourself up to get the deep NREM sleep you need to…be happy, healthy and functional day to day!
Did you know? SNOO smart sleeper is the ultimate tool in helping your baby coast from one sleep cycle to the next, as described in this article. Its smart technology detects your baby stirrings and provides just the right dose of white noise and soothing motion to help them stay asleep (vs. popping fully awake at every small distraction!) However, it won’t keep a hungry or uncomfortable baby sleeping. Learn more.