ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Much is Enough Sleep -- Life Lessons from a Baby

Updated on October 6, 2011

Mr. Crabby Pants

Two enemies struck at the same time last week: Runny Nose 'n Cough and Teething Aches 'n Pains. Needless to say, it was a week of no sleep for anyone in our family. My sweet little happy angel turned into Mr. Crabby Pants. I was so happy once the cold finally went away and the teething subsided, yet the crankiness didn't disappear right away. It took a few days to regulate the sleep again, but now, after a few days of regular naps and night sleep, he is back to being Mr. Happy.

I know sleep is important, but having a baby has taught me even more about the affect sleep has on the body and mind. And as I notice the difference it makes in Reese, I have been paying attention as well with the difference it makes for me.

Healthy Sleep, Happy Baby

A good friend of mine had a baby a couple years before me. I never was a huge fan of being around babies, they seemed to always cry, yet hers was so amazing and rarely ever fussed. I asked her why she thought that was and she swore it was because she was a fanatic with her baby's sleep schedule. She had used a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and followed it almost to the last letter. She said it often came at a sacrifice because she had to deny her desire to go out and do other things in order to maintain the sleep schedule, but it worked. So when I found out I was pregnant, I bought the book, the only book I have bought on parenting. I can't say I agree with everything in the book, but it is amazingly accurate with teaching on the need for sleep and sleep cycles.

I have many friends that are very strict with certain aspects of their baby's life; how much food they eat, is the food organic, how clean and germ free is everything, breast milk only...and although those decisions can be very important, I chose to focus on my baby's sleep schedule. It has been the one area in which I am very strict and regimented. And it has been a sacrifice for me to make sure my little one is well rested, but it is worth having a happy baby that makes me and others smile and laugh. Although a lot of how babies behave is based on their personality, every baby does better when they're well rested. And most babies, especially the very cranky ones, are just plain over tired and sleep deprived (as well are so many cranky adults!)

So How Much is Enough?

Sleep experts say babies need 14 or more hours. Some kids need less than others, yet there is an average and a minimum. Mine needs about 14-15 consistently every day between night sleep and naps. Otherwise, tiny obstacles can become major meltdowns and small set backs become the end of the world. Sadly, this also becomes true of myself as well when I haven't slept enough.

Ask someone, "How are you," or "How have you been," and if you don't get the pat response, "okay", you normally get, "Oh, I'm tired." The majority of Americans do not get enough sleep, yet we think that since it's so common that it's okay. We think if we get a good night's rest that we are somehow lazy or not doing enough. Most people agree that children need sleep in order to function at max capacity and do well in school. As children get older, the amount of sleep needs change, yet we wonder why kids can't concentrate in school or have a hard time listening to their parents. If teens need 8-10 hours of sleep and get up at 6 for school, they need to be asleep by 10pm. How often does that happen? Or if an elementary age child needs 10-11 hours of sleep and they wake at 7 to go to school, they need to be in bed by 8 or 9. And as adults, we need between 7-9 hours of quality sleep. And yet for those of us who don't, we wonder why the stress builds up, it's hard to concentrate on work, and little things can cause major meltdowns.

I don't claim to be a sleep expert, but there is a lot of research and information out there. I encourage you to do some research about sleep cycles, sleep deprivation, sleep patterns and sleep needs. But most importantly, try your own sleep experiment! The book I follow for my baby isn't the only one that has it right, yet as I've followed the scheduling and consistency part of it, I've seen it work. And I have learned more about my own sleep cycles, habits, and needs for change in sleep habits. We should write a book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Mommy.

I have always been an advocate for sleep and enjoy it immensely, yet often find that life gets in the way from getting enough of it. I am a sleep nazi when it comes to my baby yet I often make excuses as to why I need to stay up late to get things done. If sleep is so important, why do I torture myself by depriving myself of it? I know it just causes me to be frustrated more easily, have difficulties concentrating, more easily angered, snippy, crabby, cranky, just like a tired and whiny baby. Even now, why am I writing this so late at night when I could be giving my body the rest it needs and craves? As a mom, I guess I find after baby's bedtime, that's when I can get the most done for myself.

That said, it's time for me to go to bed now. Goodnight world. The rest can wait 'til tomorrow.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • short and sweet profile imageAUTHOR

      short and sweet 

      9 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Hi! I'm sorry to hear about your dog, yet I'm no expert. This may be a great question for those who write in the Pets and Animals topic. Dogs are our babies too! I have two of them myself. Have you figured out why he is licking his paw? If there is a root to that issue that can be resolved, that would probably be the best place to start.

      I think most dogs are pretty good at resting when they need it, unlike humans. But I know from experience that my parents as well as I have used a VERY SMALL amount of baby benedryl to help an anxious or itchy dog calm down and sleep. I hope your little one gets better soon!

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      I rated your Hub AWESOME and UP. Can you please help me? My 9 yr old dog has a neck strain and keeps licking his left paw. Can you tell me how much rest/sleep a little dog should have - I know you wrote you Hub on babies and sleep, but can you surmise any suggestions for "sick baby", in this case my dog, and how much sleep or extra sleep a "sick baby" may need? Thank you.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)