Sleep cycles

Did you know that babies move through various stages of sleep throughout the night. They are awake, have dreams and go into a deep sleep at different times and experts have uncovered the typical sleep cycles during the night. The cycles get shorter as we get closer to the morning. There is less deep sleep, which prepares baby for waking up.

It’s normal for babies to naturally wake during the night when they are in the light sleep phase. As we all know, problems can arise when they are unable to get themselves back off to sleep again. If they are used to falling asleep sucking, feeding, being held or rocked then they become reliant on this happening to be able to fall back to sleep. Then they find it difficult to settle themselves.

The early deep sleep periods last for 60-90 minutes. These become much less frequent towards morning. Then they enter a lighter dream sleep. The sleep cycle you are in when you are woken by your baby will determine how easy it get out of bed and also cope with being woken up the next day. Which can leave parents feeling very jet lagged and tired, we all know that feeling! You are not alone if you’re struggling with sleep right now and we can help.  Check out our Baby Sleep Guide featuring our sleep expert and health visitor Maggie Fisher.

Baby ClinicPlus you can come and chat to Maggie, our team of trained parent supporters and other mums in the Channel Mum support group too.

Health Visitor approved advice

This guide has been checked and approved by our in-house Health Visitor, Maggie Fisher in September 2018.

Other factsheets in this series

Safe sleeping for babies

Your baby’s average sleep needs

Sleep and awake states of your baby

What are your baby’s signs of tiredness?

The effect food can have on your baby’s sleep

Comforting and soothing your baby to sleep

Sleep aids that might help settle your baby

Swaddling your baby

Bedtime routines

Using the ‘Gradual Retreat’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Controlled Checking’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Kissing Game’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Pick Up, Put Down’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Wake to Sleep’ sleep training method

You might be interested in

The Channel Mum sleep guide

How to sooth a crying baby

Controlled Crying