5 Reasons Your Sweetie Needs Sleep

Today we are going to talk about why your baby needs sleep – not how to get them there. You’ve read the advice…

Swaddle, but not for too long or baby will become dependent.

Sleep train, oh wait, but that’s cruel.

Don’t let them sleep in a car seat or swing, but if they can’t fall asleep, it might be helpful.

To each his or her own. I’m taking my hat out of that arena for now.

Today I want to help you understand WHY your child needs to sleep (getting them there can be your own special concoction of tricks).

5 Reasons Your Sweetie Needs Sleep
The rarest of sightings… didn’t make it to his crib on this double nap day

After doing some serious research, here are the top 5 reasons that I am even more committed to the cause:

Reason #1:   Brainpower

A number of studies including this one and this one have shown that babies who sleep better (particularly at night) have higher cognitive scores. This is particularly related to the formation and consolidation of memories.

  • When infants are awake they quickly forget names they have just learned (try teaching them something to prove this)
  • During sleep, the brain retrieves and re-lives recent experiences and integrates them into the existing memory. This is done by strengthening neural pathways, re-linking and sometimes undoing ones that are no longer relevant. The sleeping brain essentially transforms experience into knowledge

I saw this so clearly when my son was 14 months old his talking really started to take off. Every time I put him down to sleep, as his eyes closed his sweet lips would start recounting out loud the new words he had learned that day “birdie…ball…auntie….apple…bir…” ZONK. it was all so involuntary and precious.

Reason #2:   Better Temperament

Babies who sleep more and better at night have been found here to have “easier” temperaments – they are more approachable (read: more shareable, less always-in-your-arms), less distractible (greater focus) and more adaptable (as in, better chance of sleeping soundly through the night at Great-Aunt-Gertrude’s, too). Enough said.

Reason #3:   Physical Growth

A child grows more rapidly during his first 12 months of life than any other period – tripling his birth weight and growing between 8 and 10 inches. Research shows that almost 80% of human growth factor is released as their itty-bitty-bodies sleep. Sleep baby, sleep.

Reason #4: Motor Skill Development

Not only cognitive skills are up for grabs during baby’s apparent power outage – but a lack of sleep at night can also affect motor skills and their ability to focus making accidents and behavioural problems more likely during the day.

Reason #5:   Immune Function

Firstly, our T-cells go down if we are sleep deprived (these are the ones that attack, kill and quarantine the bad bugs in our body). Secondly, inflammatory cytokines increase when the body lacks sleep (this makes us more prone to illness).   Thirdly, while the body sleeps, physical energy demands drop off, and the body is much more efficient at fighting illness.

The moral of this story is:

Let sleeping babies lie. And help lying babies sleep.

The rug-rat is regenerating itself.

A final point that is by no means an afterthought….

Your little Twinkie’s trip to twinkle town is an important part of maintaining your sanity.

Because without enough sleep, we all become towering two-year-olds.


Raising kids is one of the greatest things those of us who have them will ever do. No matter where we stand on the spectrum of life philosophies, can we agree that there are things in this world that need to change? Kthanks.

How many people does it take to change each of those things?

 ONE (at least initially)

Therefore, I submit – raising kids is one the greatest things those of us who have them will ever do. Those little ankle-biters will go on to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

And they will stand on the shoulders of giants
…and they will stand on the shoulders of giants

I always thought I would be a seriously gung-ho mom. You know… the kind who has the laundry in, the beds made, and a nourishing gourmet breakfast on the table by 7 am, with a full day of fun, stimulating activities planned for my tiny one(s). Then, I had one.

Even in my first year of motherhood I began to find myself just trying to “pass the days” – waiting for my husband to come home so that I could engage in some kind of “interesting” conversation and activity. Longing for the weekends. #amitheonlyone?

Now that I’m about to start working and blogging, I feel like my time with my baby is so limited, and I wasted so much of it! So I whipped out the goal book and started making plans to take back our time together for Good.

We’re all busy, and while I believe in the inestimable power of parents – I don’t think that raising kids should consume a person’s entire life. Quality over quantity. Memories over number of moments. That is what my childhood was – a collection of precious memories that feel like big warms hugs when I think about them. It was during those very early years that I developed a love for reading, creating things, caring for people and loving God.

Whether you are the stay-at-home-mom with a lengthy to-do list but little big-picture progress, or the working mom who wants to make precious time at home count, this is a place to help you move forward.

Let's Get Going!

The purpose of this blog is to help you fit good things into your busy schedule to unite your family and help them develop into their best selves. The selves that the world needs so desperately. These good things generally fit into a few key areas of daily living that our kids will need to master on their road to success:

  • Whole, nourishing diets
  • Living intentionally (goals, milestones etc.)
  • Living simply (minimalist-style and well within our means)
  • Curiosity/delight/self-driven leaning
  • Enthusiasm for overcoming challenges and being uncommon

Check back here every week for new ideas and rundowns of our experience using them. I won’t pretend to be perfect and act like all of my ideas are flawless – partly because it’s way less entertaining, and partly because it wouldn’t be true. I’m a big believer in the importance of truth. In person and online, I’m just a real mom, doing real things, with her real kid(s) for and with other real people.

I would love to hear from you with success stories, questions and opportunities for collaboration!

E-mail me at:  vanessa@cuttingedgekid.com