Baby Sleep Stages

Submitted by Nic on January 17, 2012

Each one of us has some specific sleep patterns. For adults, these sleep patterns are different, and for children, the sleep patterns are equally different. The simplest sleeping patterns are that of babies. Baby sleep stages are the simplest affairs and consist of two main states, unlike that of adults. There are two basic sleep states in babies: quiet and active. The cycles of sleep are extremely short, and that is why, in the first few months of a baby's life, the baby may seem a little cranky and may also have trouble maintaining regular sleep. In the initial months of the baby's life, a single sleep cycle is about 50 to 60 minutes long.


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The first stage of the sleep cycle of a baby is known as active sleep. This is the stage which follows immediately after the baby has been laid to rest.

Active sleep is a light baby sleep stage in which the baby is not completely asleep. There is irregular breathing and the body may move occasionally. Also, there is rapid fluttering of eyelids and there may also be vocalizations and grunting sounds. During this stage, the breathing of the baby, though irregular, is relatively rapid.

It has been found that the active sleep is one of those baby sleep levels in which the baby can be roused more easily. Since the baby stages of sleep patterns are only two, the other stage, known as the quiet stage, is more relaxed, and the baby cannot be awakened as easily. Since the baby sleep process is rather simple, halfway through the sleep, the baby moves into the quiet sleep stage. This sleeping stage is basically characterized by rhythmic breathing, which is much slower as compared to the breathing in the first cycle. There is very limited movement and very minimal fluttering of eyes

When the baby is in the quiet sleep phase, it is not as easy to wake the baby up. The noises and disturbances around the baby, will most likely not affect the baby at all. This cycle is the last of one the two baby sleep steps. The quiet sleep stage marks the end of the sleep, and once this cycle is finished, the baby either wakes up, or begins another sleep cycle.

As the babies grow, their sleep cycles begin to change and form into the adult sleep cycles and stages. Although this change is very gradual, you may be able to observe the changes in the sleeping patterns of your child as they grow up.

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