Twilight Sleep

Twilight sleep can be quiet or loud and often happens soon after we’ve laid our little one down to sleep. What can we do as parents and what does it really mean? Keep reading for your questions answered.

Did you know it’s normal for babies to wake 30-45 mins in to a sleep cycle? This is what we call “Twilight Sleep”. 

So, what is twilight sleep? We’re sharing what it looks like and what we can do as parents to help get our little back to sleep.

Let’s Start with the Twilight Sleep Basics

What are Normal, Natural Sleep Patterns?

  • Sleep cycles for adults typically repeat every 2 hours.
    • Slightly shorter in the first part of the night and slightly longer towards the later part of the night. 
  • As adults, we typically take about 20 minutes to fall asleep.
    • We will sleep 90-120 minutes, toss and turn, talk in our sleep then restart the next cycle. Sleep 90-120 minutes, toss and turn, repeat. 

Sleep Cycles are Classified as REM and Non-REM.

  • REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is typically lighter sleep.
    • Newborns will spend about half of their sleep in REM sleep. 
  • Non-REM sleep has 4 stages:
    • Stage 1: dozing, drowsy, eyes may flutter
    • Stage 2: light sleep, baby may be squirmy
    • Stage 3 and 4: deeper sleep; this is typically where they are quiet and not moving.

Newborns begin their “sleep” cycle in Non-REM Stage 1, move to Stages 2, 3, 4 and then to REM sleep. At night, this cycle repeats every 2-3 hours. 

Twilight Sleep is when they are transitioning between cycles.

What Does Twilight Sleep Look Like?

  • This is when we hear that soft coo or them fuss about.
  • During Twilight Sleep, the baby may be loud, squirmy, their eyes may flutter and/or they may cry for 2-3 minutes before going back to “sleep” (i.e. starting another sleep cycle). 

What Can We Do?

We recommend having a few things in place to help! 

  • Routine
    • Their bodies tell time by doing the same thing around the same time each day. 
    • Consistency is key!
  • Ideal Sleep Environment 
    • Swaddle (under 12 weeks of age) right, and tight, tight, tight!
    • White noise machine on and loud enough to hear on the other side of the door.
    • Babies sleep best in cool temps, the room should be kept at a cool 68-72ºF.
    • We recommend baby sleeps in their crib in that beautiful space you’ve curated just for them!
      • Babies can develop great sleeping habits from any room. You are the parent, and you choose where your baby sleeps. 
      • The crib should be less than 5 years old, have a new mattress, a mattress cover and a tight fitted crib sheet.
        • No fluff allowed, crib should be free of any pillows, stuffed animals, loose blankets and/or interactive toys (including mobiles above).
  • Practice the Pause
    • When they wake, wait just a minute or two then try soothing. 
    • See Moms on Call Soothing Technique & Tips here
    • Often (just like us) our littles will get back to sleep on their own after a few mins of fussing, and on to the next stage in their sleep cycle. 

Ready to learn more?

For a peek into Moms on Call’s methods and techniques view the Baby Basics videos. These videos are just a glimpse of what you will find in Moms on Call’s Online Video Courses and books which are designed to work together to guide you through every stage from birth to toddlerhood with confidence. For more personalized, one-on-one support in implementing the Moms on Call methods, reach out to partner with a Moms on Call Consultant who will be excited and honored to be part of you and your family’s journey.

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