Skip to main content

Your baby's sleep is important, but probably not in the way you are thinking.

In her book "How Babies & Toddlers Really Sleep" [1], Erica Neser [2] talks about how sleep has a specific kind of impact on how a baby's brain develops.  In just one cycle of roughly one hour, your baby will store memories, lay down paths between brain cells, and then finally secrete growth hormones.

It is important that your baby goes through these cycles during sleep, and according to Dr Nils Bergman [3], babies that sleep on their mother's chest experience all the correct sleep cycles and phases.  However, babies that are left to sleep alone might not experience these cycles at all.  According to Dr Nils, while babies that sleep alone might look like they are sleeping, their brainwaves are scrambled.

One of the many fears of parents is that their babies' brain will not develop properly if they do not get enough sleep.  Erica believes that this is one of the major factors to why parents try to "teach" their babies to sleep through the night.  It often leads to what is called the "cry-it-out" method, where babies are left alone until they essentially cry themselves to sleep, often taking hours.  This however, does not lead to healthy brain growth, a fact many psychologists today agree with.

A healthy sleep pattern will consist of a number of sleep cycles, typically an hour each, with feeding and comfort seeking throughout the night. According to Erica: "Babies aren’t supposed to sleep through from very early on. It’s normal to wake up often in the first year to nurse or be comforted".

So what can we do as parents to help our baby's brain growth and development?  Basically, accept that interrupted sleep until the age of about 3 or 4 is normal,  don't worry if baby wants to sleep with you in the bed, and respond with love when baby is looking for comfort during the night.  This will lead to healthy brain cycles during sleep.

The Majors for Minors music has been shown to help babies achieve better sleep.  Give it a try by playing Symphony of Sleep softly on repeat during your baby's night sleep and see the difference.

[1] Available as a free e-book:

[2] Trained Counsellor (BA Psych UP; Advanced Counselling UNISA), International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Certified Infant Massage Instructor, Infant and Child CPR Instructor

[3] Paediatrician and academic from the organisation Neuroscience for Improved Neonatal Outcomes in Cape Town, South Africa

Original source:


Popular posts from this blog

Improving Sleep in Children: Using Lessons Learned from Children with ADHD

It is probably every single parent out there's hope that come nighttime when they put their little one to sleep, things go smoothly and the child drifts off to sleep without issues.  For a lot of parents, this however is not the case.

Visit Majors for Minors for classical music to help your baby sleep.

This is especially true of children with ADHD.  A study done by Sung, Hiscock, Sciberras and Efron [1], reported that in Australia 78% of parents stated that their child with ADHD has problems sleeping.

Why do children with ADHD have problems sleeping? While children with ADHD are more prone to other mental health issues such as anxiety [2] and depression [3], which can both lead to sleeping problems, some ADHD medication can also be a perpetrator [4].

More than the above though, studies have found an association between ADHD and the CLOCK gene [5].  This is the gene that helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, a biological clock we all have that tells us when to go to sleep, when to…

Playing music to help your baby sleep.

Sleep is one of the most essential aspects of a baby's development.  It helps their bodies and minds develop, and the truth is that music can play a major role in both the development of your baby, as well as helping them achieve a more restful sleep.

Even though your baby's brain is not yet fully developed, the reality is that they are actually not much different from adults when it comes to the basic structure and functionality of their brains.  This also applies to the auditory cortex portion of their brain.

The auditory cortex forms part of the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex.   This is one of the first parts of the brain to develop, meaning that playing music to your unborn baby can already have benefits.  In fact, some studies have shown that playing music for your baby in utero (while still in the womb) can help create a better foundation for their reaction and appreciation for music once they are born.  In other words, playing music for your unborn baby can make i…