The restless sleep of babies and frequent awakenings cause excitement in inexperienced parents. They listen to every sound the baby makes during sleep, especially when his breathing slows down or speeds up. Children’s sleep in the first months of life is different from that of adults.
The sleep of the baby is chaotic and there is practically no day and night. There are only two phases – REM and deep sleep. REM sleep is predominant in newborns. You can often see the movement of the eyeballs under the closed eyelids of the child. He is restless, unpredictable, and full of different sounds.
The child may roll over in his sleep and shudder with his arms. There are no reasons for excitement. This behavior is due to the physiological processes occurring in the baby’s body.
Why does the baby sleep so noisily
Mothers often compare the sleep of babies with the sleep of adults. Sounds during sleep cause anxiety and various questions. There are fundamental differences, especially in the neonatal period. If the child’s brain is busy with dreams, it may make different sounds during sleep.
Different processes occur in the baby’s body that does not stop even during sleep. The baby can wake up 8-10 times at night. The task of adults is to teach the child to smoothly move from one period of sleep to the next. A child can cry, laugh, turn, push, grunt, and sniff in his sleep in the first months of life. This is caused by external and internal causes.
Brief sleep cycles
Newborns sleep for 15-18 hours with short periods of wakefulness. The sleep cycle in babies is 30 minutes. This period increases six months after birth. The child can move during sleep because the brain is actively developing. There may be screaming and crying for no reason. Sleep becomes cyclical, and the child sleeps more calmly after 2.5 – 3 months.
Gas in the intestine
The baby swallows air during feeding. It enters the digestive system and presses on the walls of the intestine. The baby experiences heaviness, discomfort, and spasms. The baby clenches his hands into fists, tightens his legs, and blushes during sleep. Can fidget in bed, grunt in sleep, push. Sleep becomes stronger and calmer if you manage to release gas.
The nervous system in infants does not know how to alternate the processes of excitation and inhibition. Stress hormones begin to be produced in the baby’s body if he has been awake for a long time. The child is difficult to put to sleep, he sleeps uneasily, makes different sounds, and often wakes up at night crying. The baby may snore during sleep after a busy day. This is a sign of fatigue.
Very dry air in the room makes it difficult for the baby to breathe. It dries out the nasal mucosa and crusts form there. The child makes incomprehensible sounds during sleep similar to groaning and sniffing with his nose during sleep. Parents notice that the baby sniffles and snores more often with the start of the heating season. The room should be cool and the humidity level should be at least 50-60%.
Inappropriate room temperature (hot or too cold), a wet diaper, and an uncomfortable mattress are the reasons why the child cannot fall asleep soundly, groans in his sleep, and may wake up crying. Uncomfortable clothing can be the cause of restless sleep. It is better to choose natural materials that allow air to pass through, do not soar, and absorb moisture.
Breathing through the nose
The nasal passages in newborns are very short, the nasal cavities are narrow, and the passing air whistles. The child may snore with his nose during sleep. The channels will enlarge in a few weeks and the air will pass freely without noise. Dust, small amounts of mucus, and dry crusts may accumulate in the nose. The baby may make sounds similar to grunting during sleep.
Changing weather conditions
Babies are very sensitive to weather changes. There may be disruptions to the normal daily routine, tearfulness, and a runny nose because of this. There may be swelling of the nose and difficulty breathing, which is often the cause of sounds such as grunting during sleep and sniffling.
Formation of the airways
The airways are not yet fully formed, the nasal passages are still very narrow, and it is difficult for them to cope with the overload. The baby may make strange noises while sleeping. Over time, the nasal passages expand and breathing normalizes. Sniffing on a baby under 1 month old is not a cause for concern.
Adaptation of the mucosa to new conditions
The nasal mucosa adapts to new conditions in the first 10 weeks after birth. The physiological runny nose often occurs in infants during this period. Nasal discharge is light, clear, and not profuse. The snot makes it difficult to breathe and the child snores in his sleep. You can rinse the baby’s nose with saline and practice good hygiene to make breathing easier.
A child’s brain is actively developing, adapting to a new environment, and learning new skills during growth spurts. The quality of sleep deteriorates during this time and sleep regression occurs. The child often wakes up at night and can stay awake for a long time. Sleep can be accompanied by different sounds.
Inflammatory diseases (rhinitis, sinusitis), tonsillitis, enlarged adenoids, and diseases of the lower respiratory tract – all these diseases are often accompanied by sniffing and snoring during sleep. The child has difficulty breathing and may occasionally wheeze. You should contact your pediatrician if the temperature rises and there is mucous discharge.
Congenital pathologies of the respiratory system
If a mother has suffered some kind of severe infection during pregnancy, this can lead to various respiratory diseases. The baby can snore and sleep with his mouth open. Be sure to contact a pediatric otolaryngologist if after three months the situation does not change.
What sounds are normal during sleep
The sounds made by the baby during sleep are not a cause for alarm. This does not mean that the baby is going to wake up or that he needs to be awakened. Experts believe that moaning or crying during sleep is quite normal. The child gets rid of the emotional load during the day in this way.
Experts say that the baby sleeps more quietly and soundly after the end of the neonatal period (the first four weeks). Some children may sleep noisily and wake up several times a night and at an older age, but this is very individual. The duration of the sleep phases increases in the period from 3 to 6 months. Sleep becomes stronger and less different sounds.
The respiratory organs and nasal passages will develop as they mature. Your baby will breathe easier and sleep better.
How to make your baby sleep better
There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for improving baby sleep. This period should simply be waited out. You can try proven methods if frequent awakenings and sounds during sleep create discomfort for the baby.
The combination of sounds with different frequencies and intensities is called white noise. It can be different sounds of nature or technology. The monotony and cyclical repetition of white noise have a calming effect and help to relieve stress and relax. The baby constantly heard sounds in the background in the mother’s belly. White noise is reminiscent of this time and the baby quickly falls asleep.
The quality and duration of sleep are influenced by environmental conditions. It is better to use subdued lighting and create a cozy atmosphere in the bedroom that calmly sets the baby.
Temperature and humidity in the room
The optimal temperature in the room where the baby sleeps is 16-20 degrees. Sleep becomes stronger and the risk of overheating decreases. It is important to air the room before going to bed. Humidity should be in the range of 50-60%. You can buy a humidifier if it is very dry.
Light massage has a positive effect on the baby. It helps to relax, relieves stress, promotes the production of melatonin, and improves sleep. Massage stimulates blood circulation and improves metabolism. The procedure has a positive effect on the physical condition and mood of the baby.
Rituals before going to sleep
Babies are not time-oriented but simple predictive actions have a positive effect on them. Frequently repeated actions signal that it is time to get ready for bed. The ritual may take 10-15 minutes. This may include bathing, dressing, and breastfeeding. You can vilify the baby in your arms, and turn on calm music, and white noise.
Do not take the baby in your arms at the slightest movement during sleep. It’s better to wait a few minutes. Babies can calm themselves and continue to sleep. You can pick it up, check the diaper, and feed it if the crying does not stop within 10 – 15 minutes. At the same time, you should maintain silence and not turn on bright lights to quickly return to a state of sleep in the future. Do not use the light of mobile devices and computers because they can wake up the child.
When to consult a doctor
Restless sleep in infants is a phenomenon that does not require medical intervention. You should consult a specialist in some cases. This may be if the child often has a bad mood all day after waking up. If he is naughty, nervous during the day, refuses to eat, and this situation repeats very often.
Parents should be alerted if the child shudders more than 10 times during sleep. You can not do without consulting a doctor if the child often wakes up with strong crying and shudders during sleep with complete silence.