Have you heard people say "It's not biologically normal for a baby to sleep through the night!". Well of course everyone is entitled to their views and as many of you will know there are many passionate views when it comes to sleep. We thought we might give you some information on this statement as some people even will go so far as to say it's dangerous for a baby to sleep through the night.
It's right. The statement is right. It's not biologically normal for babies to sleep through the night. In fact no one "sleeps through the night". It's actually biologically IMPOSSIBLE to sleep without waking whether you're a baby or an adult unless you're drugged! There is this misconception that doing sleep training goes against the natural biological processes of sleep and we are somehow ‘forcing’ babies to not have any wakings in the night. Let's break this down.
Now we aren’t talking about Newborns here okay? They have very special sleep cycles that develop as they get older towards 4 months+ so let’s just take them out of this discussion for the time being. We all know they need feeds through the night and have different support needs to older bubs.
As babies do get older their sleep stages shift (there’s part of your 4 months regression right there) and just like us as adults there is a stage where they move to rousing. The image on this post shows you the stages we move through from about 5 months to adults and and we tend to also move between Stages 2 and 3 before we move to Stage 4. Again, just like us sometimes babies will end up fully awake before they then move into the first stage of the next sleep cycle or they may have a rousing without a full wake up. This is a key element of sleep biology.
So when you do Sleep Training are we somehow ‘forcing’ or ‘making’ a baby not go through the normal biological stages and cycles of sleep? No way. As mentioned, we just can’t do that, it’s not biologically possible.
What do we mean when we say a baby is ‘sleeping through the night’? We mean that when the baby does Rouse or Wake, as is biologically normal, they simply treat it as a non-event. They are able to get themselves back to sleep happily and independently because they have developed wonderful independent and internal sleep skills. It doesn’t mean they have ‘given up’ on trying to get us to come to them, they simply don’t need the external assistance. It doesn’t mean they feel abandoned and left alone. It absolutely does not mean they are in danger or their needs are being ignored. It means they have been given the gift of sleep skills and they are able to enjoy uninterrupted rich nourishing sleep!
We hope this information enables you to have some really positive conversations about Sleep.