Why Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night


Your baby will NEVER sleep straight through the night.

While this statement might terrify exhausted new parents, it may be reassuring to learn that this is completely normal.

This is because babies aren’t biologically designed to sleep all night. And neither are adults for that matter.  In fact, anyone who hasn’t been heavily sedated can expect to wake up multiple times in the night. It’s a normal, natural part of the human sleep cycle, and understanding these cycles are key to a happy and healthy baby that can fall asleep independently.

Let’s consider our own sleep cycles for a moment:  We might not be able to put a name to them, but we know the different feelings between waking from a light sleep and a deep one. When adults fall asleep, we spend a little while in a light stage of sleep and gradually progress to a deeper stage. We stay there for a little while and then re-emerge into the lighter one, and when we do, there’s a good chance that we’ll wake up.

The whole process takes around 90 minutes

What’s surprising is that this whole process takes about an hour and a half. That’s right. From start to finish, going from light sleep to deep sleep and back again takes between 90 –110 minutes. Luckily for us, the process repeats itself pretty easily. Either we’ll wake up for a minute or two and fall right back to sleep, or we might not even really break the surface at all. This typically happens five or six times in a row. We get a restful, restorative snooze in the night, and we reap the benefits of it throughout the day.

But what about our little ones? Infants, despite their increased need for sleep, have a much shorter sleep cycle than adults. On average, an infant goes from light sleep to deep sleep and back again in an astounding 50 minutes. So whoever coined the term ‘sleep like a baby’ was clearly misguided!

Teaching healthy sleep skills

This is where teaching your baby healthy sleep skills comes into play. These skills don’t teach your little one to stay asleep. Neither do they focus more time at any one stage of the sleep cycle. All they do is simply teach your baby to fall asleep independently initially, and also when they wake up.

Teaching your little one to stay calm and content when they do wake up, and giving them the ability to get back to sleep without being ‘sleep prop’ dependent, teaches them to keep calm and assured when they wake up in the night, and helps to ensure that they get the sleep they need to be happy and healthy.

Once your baby has learned these essential skills upon waking from a sleep cycle; their brains will naturally signal them to go back to sleep and they will soon accept these wake –up’s as a non-event.

So, although your little one is going to wake up numerous times a night, every night, they can quickly and easily learn the skills to get back to sleep on their own. It will only seem as though they’re sleeping straight through the night.

That, I would imagine, is something we call all get behind.

Love Sleep,

Lisa Lamb

Infant Sleep Consultant