A night is like a day… Situation when a baby sleeps all day and is up all night is surprisingly standard and very common. A newborn baby during a daytime is a source of relatives’ pride and admiration – he is quiet, peaceful, and happy, he sleeps well and is not naughty. But all these advantages quickly disappear when adult members of the family decide that it is time to sleep. Sleepy mood of the mother and the father does not coincide with the baby’s intentions, and he opens his mouth and starts showing his tireless activity immediately after having been placed into the crib.
As a result, parents have a sleepless night. Singing, rocking, feeding, walking, drinking some water, sitting on the pot… Finally baby’s eyes are closed, but his sleep is shallow and short, there are always reasons to wake up, in general, parents are not bored at night.
It should be emphasized that we are not considering a situation when a baby cries and demands attention all the time, when he needs his parents’ presence 24 hours, needs to be carried in arms, etc. It is necessary to search for a disease then or serious educational problems.
Our case is a very specific diagnosis. Commonly it is called: “baby has mixed up days and nights“. And indeed, if the sun did not shine during the daytime, and Dad did not have to go to work, then everything would have looked quite decently – the baby is sleeping, is not crying, and is a perfect angel.
What factors influence sleep?
The situation described above does not influence a baby’s health, but mom and dad do not want that at all. As the baby is interested to have happy, peppy, and healthy parents, the problem should be solved.
Let’s start with some theoretical knowledge required to normalize life.
Every adult knows that the desire to sleep at a certain time depends on three main factors:
• intensity of spending energy – the more energy is spent, the more you want to sleep;
• the length and depth of the previous sleep;
• ratio of sleeping and eating – sleep is sweet after a good dinner.
All these are actual for adults, but these factors are even more important for children under the first year of life.
It is worth calling to mind that health affects sleep as well, for pain, fever, cough, nausea, and other “nice things” do not clearly improve sleep. But the problem of sleep inversion is not related to any particular disease, as it is difficult to imagine a child’s illness that occurs every time parents are going to sleep.
And air in the bedroom really affects sleep. It is clear that when the air is fresh (i.e. cool and wet), it is easy to sleep, and if in the room there are baby, mom, dad, cat Tom, three carpets and two heaters, so a problem can arise.
Is sleep inversion a disease?
In most cases, when having played and communicated enough with the parents, a baby calms down by 6-7 o’clock in the morning. And there is nothing surprising that the mother sleeps peacefully in the morning and during the daytime to rest. Incidentally, the situation is often stabilized and is no longer a trouble – a woman learns to sleep during the daytime and more or less calmly responds to the sleepless nights.
At the same time, mother cannot afford to sleep during the whole daytime because washing, ironing, cleaning, cooking dinner, shopping etc. are waiting for her. But except for a constantly sleepy, rumpled and angry dad, this would be quite bearable.
Day-night inversion does not occur “just like that”, for no apparent reason. And, considering the information given above, the reasons for that are easy to be explained: it is enough for a baby not to sleep during just one night, and the need for sleep will be offset by a peaceful and deep sleep during the daytime, and night will be a time for fun and communication.
Sleep inversion is a disease. Not a physical suffering of a baby, but a social illness of a certain family. Numerous methods of peaceful coexistence with the disease depend on the material well-being of a family and include, for example, a separate room for the father, so that he could sleep at night, or the employment of a maid, so that the mother could sleep during the day. At the same time, if the disease is not treated, problems can arise. It is clear what can happen when the marrieds’ place and time of sleep do not coincide…
Paradoxicalness and sadness of the situation get worse because doctors do not know ways of assistance, i.e. there is no a great pill, which will make a baby sleep all night and be up during the daytime. But it should be noted that the various anti-anxiety medications (bromine, motherwort, valerian, etc.) are used, but the true nature of such treatment is psychotherapy for parents (“We must do something!”) but not a real help for a baby.
The main conclusion is that no one can help. Parents have to solve the problem on their own, especially unlike most other diseases sleep inversion disease is effectively treated only with self-treatment.
1. Try to analyze the reasons. What could prevent your baby to sleep? If these reasons are related to health (intestinal colic, fever, earache, etc.) decide then with your pediatrician what to do during the day, so that the discomfort did not disturb the baby at night. Remember that the most common reason for night sleep disorders is the air in the bedroom (dry and warm).
2. Even if you are very sleepy, do your best to be patient and try not to let your baby sleep enough during the daytime. A baby up to one year old has 2-4 episodes of daytime sleep from 6.00 to 22.00. Ideally, you can exclude one of these episodes, but not by prolongation other sleep episodes. In other words, if the baby was sleeping 3 times for 2 hours, and now he is sleeping 2 times for 3 hours, nothing will be changed. If your baby is showing a desire to sleep, you should actively entertain him (sing, play, talk, etc.), thus delaying the sleep time. And wake him up in 2 hours. It is clear that it is not easy for a normal woman and a loving mother to consciously awaken her sweet sleeping baby, but there are no more peaceful methods.
3. Maximize your baby’s energy spending in the daytime. Walking, active games, gymnastics will help. Do not forget that a baby spends much energy to maintain body temperature: do not overheat him in any case (do not abuse clothing and heaters), make sure that while walking, your baby could move his arms, legs and head.
4. Arrange the bedroom in advance: ventilate the room, hoover and clean the floor. Remember that the ideal conditions for sleep are: temperature should be 18-20 degrees C, humidity – 60-70%.
5. Adjust the baby’s feeding schedule. Nurse your baby between 23.00-24.00. If you started giving your little one new food, then the last feeding should include the most nourishing food, i.e. cereal porridge with milk. If you breastfeed or feed an infant formula, then try feed the baby insufficiently between 18.00-20.00, for him to eat better and with good appetite before bedtime.
6. Evening bathing (before the last meal) should be in the big bath in the cool water with massage and gymnastics. It will be a wonderful occasion to spend energy, to work up an appetite, and to communicate enough with the parents.
The main difficulty of sleep inversion treatment is that the parents, particularly mothers and grandmothers, sometimes have to do actions that fundamentally contradict the generally accepted ideas about how to love children. They do not imagine how they can feed their own baby insufficiently, not to put him to sleep, not to wake him up! Yes, they are ready not to sleep through the nights for two more years!
Ready not to sleep? Ready to maintain the problem, the solution of which requires at most 2-3 days? This is a different disease. It is called masochism. Pediatricians do not treat it…