Angle Baby Raising (9) - What are the essential causes of sleep problems such as crying and waking up at night?

Angle Baby Raising (9) - What are the essential causes of sleep problems such as crying and waking up at night?

New moms have the most questions about their baby's sleep, and many of them always hope that there will be a specific and targeted solution to solve their baby's sleep problems quickly. But I have to splash a pot of cold water here and say that this magical once and for all immediately effective solution does not exist! "Bad habits are easy to get, good habits are hard to develop." No matter how good the method is if you don't stick to it for a while, you won't see the results. On the other hand, the more specific the method, the greater the possibility of failure. This is because we are dealing with people with individual differences, not machines, and each family has special circumstances and conditions. The same method put into different families may get the opposite feedback. As the saying goes, "it is better to believe in a book than to have no book at all". But is it because of this that we should not study at all? In fact, I would like to tell you in particular that there are several key points in learning, reading and reading articles.


  1. Read a lot of relevant information first.
  2. Turn around and analyze what your essential problem really is.
  3. Go back and review the information you have seen before, and select the parts that suit you to try more.
  4. Flexibly apply the methods you have seen to build your knowledge base.


We read parenting-related materials to solve practical problems in the end. What can really help is not the hands-on approach to the details, but the change in the general direction of the concept, the ability to analyze the essence of the problem to improve. This is why I have repeatedly stressed the importance of misconceptions and resilience. We can grasp the concept and spirit of each parenting classic, then analyze it for our own situation, and integrate it to respond flexibly to the actual problems we encounter, in fact, each of us is our own parenting expert.


Moms ask a lot of questions, but the most effective and direct way are in their own minds! I'm not a parenting expert, I'm just an ordinary mom who likes to share. The advice and articles given are just for your reference, and I'm glad to be able to help, but if not or if you don't approve, please laugh it off.


Today I'm sharing the most important part before tackling sleep problems: the essential reasons behind sleep problems and what normal sleep should look like.


This article will cover the core content of some of the most classic parenting books on infant sleep.


It is highly recommended that mothers read this article carefully. Personally, I think it's more important to understand the underlying causes of sleep than the specific methods of putting them to sleep. Treat the symptoms first!


1 The essential causes of sleep problems


I received a lot of messages from distressed moms in the background. In fact, the problems we encountered are similar. The main focus is on the following points: short naps, sleeping with milk, crying when laying down, frequent night waking, witching hour, difficulty in putting to sleep, not being able to pick up sleep, snack milk, day and night reversal. In fact, all these problems are only the surface phenomenon that we see. To solve these problems, what are the real and essential reasons behind them? To clarify these, I believe that mothers can target the analysis of their children's situation, targeted to adjust.


The essential reasons are in fact roughly the following three.

Surface phenomenon.

-The actual reason for this is the fact that it is very difficult to put to sleep.

-Crying when laying down, holding sleep milk sleep. Easy to wake up, check the post, short nap. Snack milk, night waking constantly.


Intrinsic causes.

-Overtired, insufficient total and quality of sleep.

-Change of sleep environment.

-Rest disorder.


First, let's look at what the classic parenting books say about excessive fatigue.


Tiredness causes an increase in adrenaline levels. All the research supports the idea that overtired children are excited, irritable, impatient, and have trouble sleeping because the chemicals in their bodies are fighting fatigue. When infants do not sleep when they should, a number of chemical changes occur in the body. These chemical changes have a direct effect on the child's behavior, making it impossible for them to stay awake quietly or to fall asleep without worry. The child's temper will deteriorate because he is tired. Excessive daytime sleepiness can create a cumulative effect. That is, children who do not nap during the day and do not get enough sleep at night for long periods of time have an incremental rate of emotional as well as behavioral deterioration. So, even if a child just sleeps less every night, the child's mood will be very bad in the long run.


Failure to form good sleep habits in infancy and childhood may lead to insomnia problems in adulthood. In people with psychological disorders, the more severe the sleep problem, the more severe the psychological problem.


Preventing the formation of poor sleep patterns is something that all parents should do, and the earlier the better.


Sleep problems can cause children to be less responsive, have difficulty concentrating, and be easily distracted, as well as cause them to be impulsive, hyperactive, or lazy. In contrast, if a child gets adequate sleep, he or she will remain optimally awake, resourceful, able to complete learning tasks successfully, charming, and with a sense of humor.


If the parents are erratic, do not have the power to do things, make a fuss, or have irreconcilable conflicts between the couple, the child's sleep problems will be obvious, causing the child to cry more often at night.

-- Healthy Sleepy Habits, Happy Child


Research says there is growing evidence that young children who are unable to get enough sleep or who sleep erratically develop irritability, aggressive behavior, ADHD, poorer impulse management, and problems with learning and memory. In addition, such children are also more likely to have accidents and have poorer metabolism and immune function, which reduces the total quality of life. Sleep problems that occur in infancy are likely to persist for years.


These studies point out that a child who is unable to sleep well can have negative effects on the entire family, including postpartum depression and a reduced quality of life for the family.


Conversely, when a baby can sleep well . Statistically, parents have a higher quality of married life while making them less stressed and better parents. The French believe that everything revolves around the child and is not good for everyone. They see learning to sleep as a step in the baby learning to integrate into the family and adjust to the lives of other family members.

---- The French of Parenting Way


A normal child should fall asleep easily, sleep very well, wake up on his or her own in the morning, and take daytime naps appropriate for his or her age.


Parents will notice a significant improvement in their child's behavior and then discover signs that were not previously noticed. These hidden signs are indicators that the child is not getting enough sleep. Children who get enough sleep are in a better mood during the day and can concentrate more easily.

---- Solve Your Child Sleep Problems


Consequences of insufficient daytime naps or disrupted sleep at night.



Regarding sleep problems caused by changes in the sleep environment.


The fact that your child wakes up in the middle of the night is not the problem at all. The key is that your child is unable to fall back asleep on his or her own after waking up because the sleep environment has changed. We usually turn over, adjust the sleeping position, pull the covers, and observe whether the environment around us is the same as when we fell asleep.

---- Solve Your Child Sleep Problems


That is to say, "crying when laying down" is precisely because the baby's environment when sleeping is not the crib, but the mother's embrace. So he will frequently check to make sure the environment has changed, and when he finds that the sleeping environment is no longer the mother's arms, he will easily wake up and be afraid.


So this is the main reason why babies are easily surprised by sleeping in their arms. Therefore, making the baby's sleep environment a bed instead of a cuddle is the basis for a stable and healthy sleep, and a good sleep is the prerequisite for a sense of security.


In fact, parents who try to soothe their children after they wake up and try to help them fall asleep again are themselves interfering with sleep, or are disguising themselves to consolidate this frequent wakefulness during the night.

---- Solve Your Child Sleep Problems


About regularity


When an infant is born with an underdeveloped central nervous system, he needs to be given regular and predictable interactions by his parents. This allows his body to function in a balanced manner until the central nervous system is fully developed and can take over such work. On the contrary, the lack of regularity sends negative signals to the baby's body, causing a disruption of his metabolism, which has a negative impact on the cycle of hunger, digestion, wakefulness and sleep.


It is a 24-hour program designed to meet the needs of the baby and the whole family. To provide and maintain a stable external environment for the baby, such an environment can make the baby's metabolic nervous system more stable. It is also flexible enough to meet the growing emotional needs of the child.

-- On Becoming Babywise



We often tend to see only the surface of the problem, but neglect to look deeper into the reasons behind, and ask more "why".


That's why many mothers struggle with sleep problems, read a lot of sleep guidance related content, and try to do, only to find that not only useless children cry more violently. Then they start to doubt whether this theory is correct, their baby must be a high-needs baby, not suitable for this set.


In fact, this is precisely because we ignore that our baby is a person, he is a whole. Everything in his life is actually connected. The reason behind the sleep problem that bothers you the most is often not the sleep itself, but rather the disruption caused by the baby's feeding, physical comfort or not, and whether the work and rest is disrupted. When your baby bursts into tears before bedtime because the timing of hunger happens to coincide with the timing of sleep. You have no idea whether your child is hungry, sleepy or uncomfortable, and when you ask for help, you can't describe the cause, just "My child cries every day, what's wrong with him? Is there any way to stop crying?" What kind of answer do you think the other person will give you to such a question? When you don't even know the reason yourself, how can there be a so-called magic method to stop your child from crying indiscriminately? Do you want to knock the child out with a stick?


So, you now see most of the children's sleep problems. At the root, 80% are because the child's regular routine has not been established!


Children without a regular routine, the body is in disorder. For the future what will happen to the child is full of unknown, and the unknown is the main reason for the child does not feel safe. As parents, the child's needs under the chaotic routine is also full of confusion, do not know what the child's cries are trying to say. The anxiety that permeates the whole family only makes the problem worse.


Neither you nor your child needs the adventure of the unknown, and never throw you or your child out of control.


Your baby's healthy growth requires that a stable biological clock be established as soon as possible so that his body functions as a system with regularity. However, this rule is not a strict schedule designated by the parents' whim or by rigid application, but a regular routine based on full observation of the baby, respect for the baby's own characteristics, and flexible adjustment at any time in conjunction with the characteristics of the baby at different stages of growth. The role of mothers and fathers is not to be the dominant one, but to be the supporting guide, and flexibility is a key part of guided parenting.


Sometimes we love our children with all our heart and soul, wanting to give them all we can, as long as they don't cry. However, our thoughts and reality are not what we would like them to be, and over-interference and blind love trigger unhealthy dependency in our children. And let the child into a vicious circle, the more adults are afraid of children cry, the family a group of adults around the child, but the more easily irritable the more vulnerable, the more likely to cry, and finally resulting in a team with a child, but also with everyone is tired and out of breath.



This is precisely because we put the cart before the horse, not analyzing the essential causes of the problem, and only want to solve the problems we see on the surface. The goal is "not to let the child cry", not "to let the child eat, sleep and play well and have a healthy routine". In the end, the problem is not solved, the whole family is exhausted, conflicts are constant, and the child is uncomfortable but has no choice but to cry more to express his dissatisfaction.


2 What should normal healthy sleep look like for a baby?


Generally, a baby born at full term is able to stay asleep for a full night at three or four months. This means that they can fall back to sleep on their own, even if they wake up during the night.

---- Solve Your Child Sleep Problems

A normal baby has the instinct to sleep through the night by 2 months after he is born.

----On Becoming Babywise

If your child is still unable to sleep by himself after 3 months, and cries frequently at night. Parents should pay attention because generally, children of this age are able to sleep on their own. If, by about 5 months of age, the child is still waking frequently at night, parents must take countermeasures.

----Healthy Sleepy Habits, Happy Child

Most of the Parisian friends and acquaintances I know have children who can sleep through the night by 2 to 3 months after birth. Everyone I talk to agrees that babies can and will start sleeping through the night at 6 months, and often sooner.

---- The French of Parenting Way

As you can see, babies actually have the ability to sleep through the night from two or three months onwards. In other words, after two or three months, the baby can not drink milk at night.


Of course, what is written in the book is the ideal situation, which will occur only when the baby is born with parents' conscious sleep guidance and regular rest.


We, as new mothers, wait until we realize that our baby's sleep problem is a big problem, or when we are in constant conflict with the elders in the family, before we start a regular routine and sleep guidance. This time there is a transition period to change the previous bad habits and repeated observations to find out the right sleep guidance for your child. Therefore, mothers should not put too much pressure on themselves and do not force their babies to sleep through the night in any month. As long as your baby is in good spirits throughout the day, and the general direction of sleep and rest is getting better, you've actually won! But the most difficult thing is to persist.In particular, sleep problems can be recurring, encountering growth spurt, sleep regression period. It will give mom and dad repeated frustration, but not because of these normal repeated, and give up to adhere to the healthy sleep guidance and regular rest.



The main tasks of regular work and rest.

  1. adjust the baby's biological clock and establish a stable digestive cycle and sleep cycle.
  2. Let the baby's rhythm of life parallel to the rhythm of other members of the family, to create a relaxed and happy atmosphere.


The main tasks of sleep guidance.

  1. Reduce bedtime intervention step by step. Develop the habit of falling asleep independently.

2、Understand the sleep cycle pattern. Guiding your baby to get enough and high quality sleep every day.


3 Sleep cycle and growth pattern


Knowing the sleep cycle can help us to understand the deeper reasons behind our children's restless sleep and wakefulness, so that we can seize the time to put them to sleep and pick them up.


Wakefulness stage: What you need to do at this time is to catch your child's sleep signal and put him/her to sleep in time. And slowly reduce intervention, so that your child can develop the ability to fall asleep on his or her own.


Light sleep to deep sleep: This is the stage when your child sleeps This is the process of repeated transitions in your child's sleep. You will find that your child is not very stable when he or she first falls asleep and wakes up very easily. Many babies wake up after 20-40 minutes of sleep and get up in a poor mental state, making it difficult to put them to sleep again. This is the child has been in light sleep has not been successfully transitioned to deep sleep.


Children who have the ability to fall asleep on their own can usually transition well, and even if they do not, they can fall asleep again on their own after waking up. For such children, parents need to do is not to interfere too much with the child's sleep, so as not to create a bad dependence on the baby, the formation of sleep disorders.


For children who do not have the ability to fall asleep on their own, they need to be continued by their families in a timely manner. The method of continuing sleep is exactly the same as putting them to sleep, but you must seize the moment. That is, when the child has just woken up signs of timely pick up, once you miss the time the child is easy to wake up and difficult to put to sleep again.


The continuing sleep method is as follows. During the daytime naps, you can stay with your child. Generally, your child wakes up at a very regular time, pick up at the right point and consolidate until your child enters deep sleep. This method is only used in the transition, mainly to go through the child's work and rest, to extend the child's nap time, to ensure the total length and quality of sleep. In the long term, it is important to gradually decrease the intensity and frequency of the intervention.


After understanding your child's sleep cycle, it is important to help your child develop a good "day/night rhythm", or in layman's terms, a "biological clock".


The "physiological rhythm timing system", also known as the "internal timing system". It is like a sophisticated regulatory program that switches on and off certain genes in the body in response to daytime changes. This switching device in the body is a molecular clock that points to the correct time according to the sunlight. This auto-regulatory mechanism ensures that a person goes to sleep at the right time and enters each stage of sleep at the right point and for the right length of time. A certain area of the brain sends signals that make us feel like we want to sleep or wake up.

---- Solve Your Child Sleep Problems


"There are many such rhythms in the human body, including sleep and wakefulness, the activity and inhibition of body functions, eating and drinking, body temperature and hormone levels. Sleep and wakefulness are related to these rhythms. Typically, a person's body temperature drops to the lowest level of the day when they fall asleep, and they wake up when their body temperature rises to a certain peak.


If we have a regular routine, it is not difficult at all to maintain a 24-hour biorhythm. It is only when our routine is disrupted and we try to sleep when we shouldn't that we feel uncomfortable


Biorhythms control sleep patterns, and irregularities can affect the functioning of these patterns, leading to sleep problems. Maintaining a good day and night rhythm helps to improve the quality of sleep and the normal functioning of daytime physiology. For many sleep problems related to the day and night rhythm, the first consideration should be to adjust and correct the rhythm to normalize it.

---- Solve Your Child Sleep Problems


From the moment the baby is born, they take great care to "watch" the baby and then follow the baby's own "rhythm".

---- The French of Parenting Way


This is the reason why I emphasize the importance of fixing the morning milk and bedtime milk time in "Angel Baby Raising 3".


In fact, the key point is not the issue of breastfeeding, but to seize the two important points of day and night division to establish a good biological clock for your baby. The rhythm of your baby's work and rest can also be transformed to keep the same time frame for waking up in the morning and going to bed at night (not requiring a minute and a second to be executed without fail, but within the flexibility of half an hour)


When the child's daily biological clock is fixed, you will find that in each month of the first year, the child's routine and situation is constantly changing. Especially in the first year, the child grows rapidly and the physiology and psychology are changing dramatically at any time. This determines that regular routine and sleep guidance is definitely not a quick fix, but requires parents to observe the baby's changes at all times and keep making adjustments.


As the child's brain develops, the child's sleep patterns and rhythms are always changing. If you can adjust your parenting behaviors accordingly, your child will sleep well. If parents do not notice these changes or do not adjust their parenting behaviors in a timely manner, they are prone to excessive child fatigue. The pattern of action of these signals may change once every few weeks, months, or years as the infant develops. In the first few months of life, the "physiological rhythm timing system" signals change at short intervals, so parents can easily lose track of the rhythm. Just when you figure out when your baby should be napping or going to bed, the rhythm changes again!

----Healthy Sleepy Habits, Happy Child



The above table is for reference only, each baby due to differences in development, will certainly be different, by and large most babies in line with the above rules




This article is rather long. If you are careful to see here, I want to thank you for your patience to read, I believe there will be for you to help!


Previous Review.

Angel Baby Raising (1) Preparation

Angel Baby Raising (2): Theory of regular work and rest

Angel Baby Raising (3): Regular work and rest training in practice

Angel Baby Raising (4): Theory of putting to sleep

Angel Baby Raising (5): Ethan independent sleep development record

Angel Baby Raising (6) Growth Spurt

Angel Baby Raising (7) Gross Motor Movements

Angel Baby Raising (8): Over 6 months of Regular Routine, Merge nap, Eating


The end


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