Babies wake up every two hours and usually don’t fall back to sleep until they have woken up the neighbourhood and had a good cuddle and some milk. So why do people say “I slept like a baby?” when most parents will tell you that nighttimes are a nightmare!
Babies Wake Frequently but Cycle Deeply
When babies are actually asleep they tend to sleep very well. Although they may wake up every 2-3 hours, their sleep cycles are deep and restorative. So yes, the saying “sleeping like a baby” does make some sense.
But for the most part the expression refers to sleeping without worry or anxiety; new born babies do not have the same thought processes as a teenager or adult, and therefore have no trouble falling to sleep or maintaining sleep during 90 minute sleep cycles. What actually tends to stop babies falling asleep is being over tired or over stimulated.
Newborn babies only really wake up to eat, which is a natural survival instinct – they never wake up and think “oh sugar puffs, I forget to email Jen that report before I left at the office!”
How we Condition Ourselves to Sleep Badly
As we grow, we are socially conditioned to constantly over think things and live in anxiety of the future. We are caught in a whirlwind of “whats” and “whens”, constant second guessing and questioning what people are thinking and might happen…
- What subject options shall I take in school?
- What do people think of the way I look?
- Am I fashionable?
- Why haven’t I got a girlfriend?
- What will I do for work?
- When will I marry?
- Will I ever be able to afford a house, car and a family?
- Will I have enough to retire?
- The list expands with age…
In fact, because we spend so much time thinking about the future, we stop ourselves thinking about the now and the difference we can make to our happiness in the present. These worries, the majority of them frivolous, are creating a world of sleepless, anxious people.
Babies are yet to be affected by the unnecessary pressures of modern living and the associated insecurities and anxieties we pick up as we age. This is explains why when you have a night where you fall asleep within seconds and dream deeply in the realms of another world, you might say, “I slept like a baby”.
It's Actually Far Better to Sleep Like a Child
When babies mature into young children and lose the need to feed every few hours, they tend to sleep very well because of their excellent sleep hygiene. Young children (depending on their parents) tend to follow a good sleep routine that consists of early to bed and early to rise. The amount of exercise they do, coupled with the body's growth requirements for rest – and of course zero worry about money, work or relationships, means they usually sleep soundly through the night for a solid 8 hours.
Getting back to sleeping like a baby, or a child, for that matter, seems like an impossibility, especially when you have suffered years of restless nights and stressful days. But it really isn't. In fact it is easier than you think…. find out more here.