Why does the baby cry in his sleep?
You’ve probably seen the scene of a baby sleeping, seemingly quiet, when he suddenly whimpers and grunts for a small space of time and then goes back to sleep.
Many risk saying that he is having a nightmare. Others, that something or a pain is bothering him. As soon as the baby babbles the first sound, many mothers, following their maternal instinct, quickly go and pick their babies up.
This action is even justifiable. After all, some mothers want to see their babies cry. What happens is that, for many, a baby should sleep in total silence, without any movement or sound, and that’s not exactly how it happens.
Before you let your heart speak louder than you mind and you go running to interact with the baby who cries while sleeping, you need to understand how the baby’s sleep cycle works.
Baby’s Sleep Cycle
Like adults, baby sleep goes through two phases, REM sleep (Rapid Eyes Movement and Non REM sleep or Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep.
The Non REM phase is the initial phase of sleep, of falling asleep, which lasts between 90 to 100 minutes and goes through some stages before reaching the REM phase, or the deepest sleep, which lasts for 10 minutes.
Unlike an adult, where falling asleep occurs in five stages, representing up to 80% of sleep, the baby’s sleep cycles are much shorter, around 50 to 60 minutes, and each phase represents 50% of sleep time.
Because the baby is much more likely to wake up often during this period, as they still do not understand the process of going back to sleep alone, crying or grunting may appear.
Babies learn to sleep
Babies have incredible potential to learn everything you are willing to teach. Similarly, they need to be encouraged to talk, pick things up and eat, among other things and should also be taught to sleep.
Many babies wake up crying and need to be lulled again, simply because they don’t know how to go back to sleep alone. For this reason, it is essential to have a sleep routine from the first day of the baby at home.
The beginning may be more difficult, after all, the baby had a different rhythm inside the womb. Everything is new to him in the world out here. So, you’re going to need a lot of patience and consistency to show him that it is time for bed.
Like the entire learning phase, it is important to exactly follow the step-by-step procedure, avoiding as much as possible taking the baby out of the crib, turning on the lights or interacting with him in these moments of crying.
That doesn’t mean you should keep your baby from crying and do nothing. Usually, the crying lasts a few minutes, and you can stick around, hum a lullaby or talk softly with him to calm him down.
If he is crying with greater intensity and does not calm down after a few minutes, it is necessary to research better if there is some more serious problem, such as reflux, rash or even night terror.
What is night terror
Night terror is a sleep disorder characterized by crying, more crying and expression of fear. Unlike a nightmare, when it happens it is common for the baby not to wake up during the episode, which lasts 1 to 10 minutes.
It usually affects children between two and three years, but babies as young as one month can also have it. However, just as it begins without explanation, crises cease when the child grows older.
The most indicated way to proceed is to hold the baby in and try to calm him down, without trying to wake him. If events occur frequently, it is worth observing the right time and waking the baby minutes in.
One of the causes pointed to the onset of this disorder is the deprivation of recommended hours of sleep or the lack of a moment of relaxation before bedtime. That is all the more reason to make the sleep routine something important.
When to Create a Baby Sleep Routine
The ideal situation is to prepare the environment for the baby’s sleep before it is even born. The decoration and lighting of the room, the correct mattress for the crib and every detail is essential to ensure a good night’s sleep.
The sleep routine should make the baby as relaxed as possible and gradually understand the right time to sleep, learning to sleep alone and, when waking up during the transition between sleep phases, know how to go back to sleep without getting stressed.
Encourage daytime naps so he can be more relaxed at night. Keep the routine constant, and, if he cries, stay calm and keep teaching that he can go back to sleep. Soon, you will have a baby sleeping like an angel for up to 12 hours at night.
If you need professional help on how to introduce the sleep routine for your baby, count on the Bebe Dorminhoco course, created based on knowledge and experience and which has already made many mothers and babies happier.