Polyphasic Sleep

Babies and Polyphasic Sleeping Patterns

By Polyphasic Society

It’s fairly common knowledge that little people have completely different sleeping patterns than adults do. Newborns spend most of the beginning of their lives sleeping. A newborn will only wake if aroused by an outside stimulus like a loud noise or a soiled diaper or an internal stimulus such as hunger.

As they get older a baby’s sleeping pattern changes. Anyone who has ever cared for a baby for an extended amount of time realizes how malleable a sleeping schedule can be. Babies have not adapted to any certain circadian rhythm and they have no concern with what your sleeping schedule might be. Some people first experience polyphasic sleeping patterns with their first child.

While it seems like a long arduous process to get a baby to “sleep throughout the night” it may be better to live by the phrase: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Take frequent naps and don’t focus on trying to get so many consecutive hours as to when practicing monophasic sleep. Embrace the chaos and you’ll find that you’ll be less irritable and be able to get more things done.

Babies experience similar phases while asleep as adults do. However, while adults spend around 25-30% of their sleep time in the active REM phase of sleep babies spend an incredible 80% of sleep time in an “active” state. This is because of the baby’s developing brain. While in active sleep the brain remains in a state of activity that can be reflected in body systems. Respiratory rates and heart rates fluctuate while in this “active” stage. Babies are also easier to arouse during this state. Moving a baby during an active phase will usually result in them waking up. But being easy to arouse also protects the baby from incidents that could result in SIDS.