Why Do Newborns Sleep So Much

As a normal parent it's normal to worry about everything. The anxieties that surround becoming a parent can not be compared to anything else. You suddenly have a fragile little life that you are responsible for so it's only natural that you find yourself questioning everything.

One of the most worrying times for parents is night time. At night time we are not constantly alert and as much as you wish that you could it is impossible to be awake all night therefore, of course, you worry about your little one.

One particularly common nighttime worry is sleep. Parents worry about everything to do with sleep from where their baby sleeps, to how their baby sleeps, to when their baby sleeps and pretty much everything in between.

One of the most commonly asked questions is why do newborns sleep so much, the problem is that there isn't one simple answer; rather, there are lots of factors that contribute to how much a newborn sleeps.

Why do newborns sleep so much

They Have Small Stomachs

It might sound strange but one of the factors that contributes towards newborns sleeping so much is actually the size of their stomach. The fact that newborns have small stomachs in turn, means that they get full quickly.

We all know that when we feel full we want to sleep and newborns are no different so it is quite normal for a young baby to want to nap after it has had some milk.

They Slept A Lot In The Womb

Before birth babies spend a lot of time in the womb sleeping. Just like any other human being, new babies are creatures of habit and therefore this continues on throughout the newborn stage.

They are so used to having lots of sleep that their little bodies are reliant on it and therefore you will find your little one to be napping a lot.

They Are Constantly Developing

Newborn babies develop at a rapid pace and just like us when we are busy they need more sleep. So, in other words a developing baby is often a sleepy baby. These developments range from constantly developing cognitive function all the way to learning how to move and other vital functions. In this respect having a sleepy baby can actually be a good sign.

They Are Experiencing A Growth Spurt

If you have noticed changes in your baby's sleep for instance, if they are a lot sleepier than normal it is normal to be concerned and right to seek medical advice. However, assuringly, a suddenly sleepier baby can actually be a sign that your little one is experiencing a growth spurt which is never a bad thing.

This makes sense as growing is super tiring work. It does mean that there might be another shopping trip on the horizon as he or she grows out of their current clothing size.

They Are Ill

When we think about babies and illness we instantly panic but just like us a lot of the time they can have illnesses that are not serious.

Being more sleepy could simply be caused by a cold. Of course, with babies it is important to keep an eye on all illnesses including a cold as their immune system is still quite weak so if you suspect that this is the reason for your baby's increase in sleep then you should seek medical advice.

However, hopefully it is just a cold and with the right support your little one should recover in no time. Even as adults having a cold can knock us back and make us a lot more tired so it is important to remember that babies go through this too, they just can’t effectively communicate it yet. However, there are telltale signs of a cold including a runny or stuffy nose or a cough.

They Could Have A Serious Infection

Unfortunately, sleeping more than usual can be a sign that your newborn has developed an infection. Once again, this is a reason to seek immediate medical advice if your baby's sleep routine has changed.

Serious infections can be fatal so it is important that you get the right help straight away. When it comes to a baby's health it is always better to be safe than sorry.

They may have been feeling poorly for a while but they are unable to let you know of other symptoms that they may have but luckily a medical professional should be able to do some checks to figure this out.


Jaundice is a relatively common illness affecting babies but unfortunately it can be serious. Sleeping too much could be a sign that your little one was born with or has developed jaundice.

There are other telltale signs of jaundice such as yellowing of the skin. However, yellowing skin will not always be present with jaundice so maybe still mention this to your doctor when you see them about the changes in your baby's sleep.

How Much Sleep Is Normal For A Newborn?

Knowing how much sleep is normal for a newborn can be really difficult especially as every child is different. However, too much sleep in one go can be dangerous so if your newborn is sleeping for long stretches at a time then you should wake them to feed them as otherwise this can interfere with weight gain and growth which can have detrimental effects.

Some advice suggests waking your baby every 2-3 hours whereas others suggest that you can leave them to sleep for up to 5 hours at a time.

Therefore, it is important that you speak to a medical professional about your baby to find out their specific requirement regarding sleeping and waking as lots of factors go into this.

Final Thoughts

Having a newborn is daunting. One of the most stressful parts of being a new parent is sleep time so it is only natural that you want to know why exactly your baby sleeps so much. It is important that if you notice any changes with your baby's sleep or if you have any concerns that you contact a medical professional immediately.