Baby REM Sleep In Infants & Newborn Babies

Most new parents have a million questions about newborn sleep – how much, how often, and even how to get your newborn to sleep well through the night. But when your newborn does fall asleep, they may seem restless or you may notice rapid eye movement (REM) underneath their eyelids, and even more questions may arise. If that’s the case, keep reading for some FAQs about REM sleep and why it’s an important part of your little one’s development.

What Is REM Sleep For Babies?

REM sleep in babies occurs during light sleep and it’s when baby dreams.  Also referred to as “active sleep,” REM sleep may cause your baby’s arms and legs to move around a bit, and her eyes may flutter underneath her eyelids quite rapidly – this explains the acronym REM which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. REM sleep in newborn babies typically means that their sleep is light and restless, and it occurs almost immediately after falling asleep. This will change as she develops and grows and her sleep habits change. Still, sleep is one of the major functions of the brain during infancy and plays an important role in cognitive development.

What does rem sleep in infants look like?

During REM sleep, your baby’s eyes will move underneath her eyelids and her body may move around a bit, too. REM is also known as active sleep and it’s an important part of your baby’s development. Remember, newborn babies sleep between 12-18 hours in a 24-hour period and about half of that time is in REM sleep, so babies have more REM sleep than adults which is an important part of their cognitive development.

Is REM deep sleep?

Newborns essentially have two stages of sleep. REM and non-REM (NREM). Up until they’re around 3 months old, they spend about an equal amount of time in both. While REM stage of sleep is known as “active sleep,” NREM is known as “quiet sleep.” NREM also has its own stages of sleep, one of which is deep sleep. Deep sleep is what causes your body and brain waves to slow down and like all sleep, it’s important for general health benefits.

When do babies stop REM sleep?

At around 3-6 months, your baby will ideally be sleeping for longer stretches of time, although still waking up at least once during the night. That means they experience fewer hours of REM sleep and longer periods of deep sleep – similar to the same sleep stages as adults. The Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack can help with sleep transitions as it is designed to help your baby feel calm, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. 

When Do Infants Go Into REM?

Most infants fall into REM sleep immediately upon falling asleep.

Why do babies spend so much time in REM sleep?

Everything your baby experiences in those early days, weeks, and months outside the womb is brand new and exciting! She’s becoming aware of all the sights, sounds, smells and physical sensations the world has to offer. As such, her brain needs time to process everything – part of the reason why she sleeps so much. Research shows the REM sleep helps to create “neural connections” which ultimately promotes brain development.

Do babies make noise in REM sleep?

It’s possible that in their active stage of sleep, your baby will make noise either through her body movements or sounds like a whimper, gurgles, even a giggle or two!

Is REM sleep important for newborns?

Even though it’s known as active sleep, the benefits of REM sleep are plentiful. Studies show that REM sleep helps to support both long and short-term memory, as well as overall learning.

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