Baby advice: Sleep myths busted

As a new parent, you’ll be bombarded with well-meaning advice from relatives and friends. Here we debunk the most common snooze-related myths.

Myth 1: Keeping babies up later at night helps them sleep for longer.

In fact, early bedtimes help babies get the most from the night. By three or four months old, your baby will get the most rest if you put her down to sleep at about 7pm.

Myth 2: Babies start sleeping better at around three months.

Most babies’ sleep doesn’t follow a linear progression. Even a baby who sleeps well in the first few months can start waking up every two to three hours when he gets a little older.

Myth 3: Good sleepers don’t wake up at night.

We all wake up at night, at least briefly. Research shows that 80% of 3-month-old babies and 75% of 6-month-old babies wake up during the night. Babies have 60-minute sleep cycles, and move into a lighter stage of sleep every hour. ‘Good sleepers’ are likely to wake up just as often as ‘bad sleepers’, but are able to fall back into a deep sleep cycle on their own.

Some tips

Put baby to sleep in the same room as where he is going to wake up, otherwise he might feel confused and insecure in the morning. If your baby is having sleep problems, it might help to let him sleep in the same place every time you put him down, day and night.

The house doesn’t need to be kept completely silent when baby naps, but do give him a chance to have some peaceful sleep at least some of the time. Teach older kids to respect ‘quiet time’ if noise in the house startles your baby and wakes him up.

The magic number

How much sleep does your baby need every day? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but the rough guideline is:

  • Newborns: 12 to 18 hours
  • Infants: 14 to 15 hours


Read more: Here’s help to relieve colic.

Photography: Shavan Rahim/NMP. Model: Olumiyelo/Kidz2000.