You think you’re doing nothing while you sleep, but your body is actually resetting and reprogramming itself during this crucial time. You’re not only resting - you’re recovering from the experiences of the day before and preparing for the day ahead. Babies, in particular, need restful sleep because this is the time when their bodies are programming them for their entire lives.
Babies’ bodies go through tremendous changes on a day-to-day basis. They don’t understand what is happening around them and to them. They don’t even know the difference between day and night! That can make getting your baby to sleep pretty difficult. Your baby is feeding every few hours for the first six weeks of their lives and it seems like having a routine is out of the question with a newborn. But it’s important to set some schedules to help their little bodies reset and renew with some consistency.
Babies oftentimes will wake themselves up while sleeping, flailing their arms and legs out and startling themselves awake in the process. This is called the ‘Moro Reflex’ and can be distressful to a baby (along with the parents who are wakened by their cries). It’s one reason why swaddling can be so effective for your baby – it will hold their arms still and prevent them from accidentally disrupting their own sleep.
Additionally, you can help your baby more easily fall asleep and stay asleep by creating clear distinctions between day and night by doing the following:
- Keep your baby in well-lit, active areas during the day.
- Create a quieter, darker environment at night.
- Create routines for bedtime: this lets your baby know to transition to sleepy-time. Soothing baths, massage with baby lotion, change your baby into a new diaper and sleeper as well as singing to your baby while rocking – these are all great ways to let your baby know that it is time to fall asleep.
Eventually your baby will automatically know when it’s time to sleep as well as the appropriate time to wake in the morning. It’s so nice to know that there are things we can do to help our kids sleep easy! We can also do some of the same things (like dimming lights at night and creating routines for bedtime) as adults to help us more easily fall asleep.
Of course, babies sometimes have fussy tummies and teething pain. This can disrupt their normal sleep patterns, as can small misalignments in their spine. Your spine is what controls your central nervous system and any slight shift can throw your system off-balance. It’s true for anyone, from seniors all the way down to little newborn babies.
Infants, toddlers and young children can all benefit from chiropractic care. Chiropractors can gently adjust your babies for spinal misalignments. They can also help provide relief from their sleep pattern problems. Rushmore Family Chiropractic is happy to talk with you about any concerns you may have about your children and their health.