Sleeping a lot actually does babies a lot of good than you thought. Here’s what it does. Posted by Sadiya Qamar on momjunction.com. MomJunction is your friend, philosopher, and guide – all rolled into one. We are a place to stop for a while and hang out with likeminded people, a place to learn and to teach. Photo created by Ben_Kerckx from Free Photos
Soon after your baby is born, there’ll be no end to the number of surprises that come your way. As you start taking baby steps (pun intended) toward motherhood, you’ll learn a lot of things on the job – like mastering the perfect latch, changing diapers to establishing your baby’s sleep routines. As things settle down, you’ll soon notice that your baby would have started to sleep a lot. So much so that your baby will sometimes even forego the feeding time just to sleep. However, it is nothing to worry about. And just in case you are worried about your little angel’s growth, then don’t. Because sleeping a lot actually does babies a lot of good than you thought. Here’s what it does:
1. Helps Boost Their Physical Growth
It has been believed for long that babies experience growth spurts during sleep. But then, there were not enough studies done to show if the duration of the sleep impacted the physical growth of the baby. A recent study has now found that the longer a baby sleeps, the better the growth of his/her body. The comparative analysis of the study data showed that infants experienced an increased spurt of growth in length when their overall sleep time was increased.
2. Develops The Neurosensory System
The central nervous system of your baby drastically develops during the first two years of life. When your baby is asleep, the sleep stimulates his/her neurosensory system, thereby aiding growth. This process occurs during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep and is called endogenous stimulation. During this process, neurons are discharged. These discharges create a connection between the sensory organs and brain structures, which is vital for the development of the neurosensory system including auditory, touch, visual, and vestibular systems.
3. Promotes Development Of The Brain
An important component in the maturation of the brain is something known as brain plasticity. This is the ability of the brain to change its structure and function in response to environmental changes. Studies conducted on animals have shown that young animals who were sleep-deprived, experienced loss of this brain plasticity. This loss shrinks the size of the brain, reduces learning abilities, and negatively impacts behavior. Therefore, the results of the study demonstrate that sleep is very vital for the development of the brain and brain plasticity.
4. Helps In Enhancing Learning Skills
Your baby’s sleep plays a major role in consolidating memory which helps in learning. In a study, the researchers attempted to teach an artificial language to 15-month-old babies. The babies were divided into two groups. One group took a nap in between the teaching and the test and the other group did not. The researchers found that the babies who took a nap before each test performed relatively better than those who didn’t. They not only remembered the words that were taught but could also learn the abstract relations between them.
5. Improves Mood
Not only babies but don’t adults also get cranky when they are deprived of a sufficient amount of sleep? Some of the studies have demonstrated that babies who do not get enough sleep generally become cranky and temperamental. One of the studies found, in fact, that babies whose night sleep was less in 3 weeks were often more irritable even at the age of just 3 months. They were also relatively less approachable. So, if your baby has been cranky for a while now, then check if your little angel has been getting enough sleep at night or not.
Now that you know the important role that sleep plays in your baby’s overall growth and development, you can heave a sigh of relief! However, if your baby is being excessively sleepy and not showing any weight gain, always check with your pediatrician. It could be due to an underlying health issue. Otherwise, your baby’s long hours of sleep should not be a concern.
Read also: How Much Sleep Does a Child Need?