Why is sleep important to human health?

Quality sleep is vital for human health. Humans have biological rhythms known as circadian rhythm is, which control our body clock. Poor quality sleep can cause a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, which is linked to ill health and prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can have detrimental effect on all the family.

Lack of sleep causes accidents, tiredness at work, loss of concentration irritability and frayed tempers. During the last three months of pregnancy, women experience disturbed sleep, which increases the risk of antenatal and postnatal depression and puts extra stress on parental relationships.

Tired and anxious post natal women and are less able to interact with a baby in a positive way, which interferes with the mother/baby bonding.

The consequences of baby sleep problems can have long lasting detrimental effects and all family members. In fact, parents treat the child sleep problem more stressful than dealing with a health problem. Tired and stressed parents are often too exhausted to untangle the complicated behavioural problems associated with sleep. Therefore, it is essential that parents have clear knowledge and understanding of sleep, as they are part of the problem and the solution.

Sleepy cycles

R.E.M.  and Non R.E.M. sleep cycles

Every baby is born with their own unique sleep potential, which is the total number of hours they sleep in the day, with the average being 12 hours in a 24-hour period. The ratio of R.E.M. to Non R.E.M. Changes during the first year.

– babies up to 3 month sleep for 10 hours in R.E.M

This reduces month by month and at one year Babies sleep for six hours in R.E.M.

During R.E.M.

  • The brain reprocesses daily events necessarily for our well-being

  • The baby grows and develops

  • Infant brain development occurs, which is important for intelligence


During Non R.E.M.

  • The human body repairs and regenerates itself

  • There is an increase in the production of hormones

  • There are increased levels of milk home and prolactin, vital for breastfeeding mums


When you appreciate how vital sleep is to your health, and the health of your baby and the general well-being of all the family, you will want to ensure that you implement good sleeping patterns from the very beginning. I recommend parents synchronise their baby’s sleeping pattern to one that suits their lifestyle. However this will only be happen if your baby/toddler has made positive sleep associations. They are the cornerstones and central to my multisensory sleep techniques and sleep routines.

Read more in the Ultimate Sleep Guide for Babies and Toddlers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *