So what changes at around this time?
A newborn babies (born at term) sleep cycle is around 45-50 minutes in length, by the age of 3 months this has matured to 90 minutes; the same as an adult’s sleep cycle in which it will stay for the rest of his life. Prior to this, when a newborn baby falls asleep they enter REM sleep initially (also known as ‘light’ sleep in which we dream) during this time you may see your baby twitch, eyes roll and breathe irregularly. From 3 months, a baby will enter non-REM sleep initially on going to bed followed by another period of this deep sleep towards the early hours of the morning. Therefore, most of the night is spent in REM sleep. You may find your little one is sleeping well for the first part of the night although tends to wake when you’re going to bed around 10/11pm and is difficult to settle back to sleep; this is due to the light sleep phase they have entered although mistakenly parents often wonder whether it is them who has woken the baby! REM sleep is still developing and can be disturbed further by movements although by around 6 months the REM state becomes more continuous. Consequently, it is imperative to work on your little one’s self settling so when they cycle between the sleep states they are able to put themselves back to sleep without your intervention.
Why not try keeping a sleep diary to help note sleep patterns, lengths of sleep, time between naps etc in order to help you establish healthy sleep habits and set up positive sleep associations and recognise any negative sleep associations which may be impacting on your little one’s sleep (and yours!!)