Sleep is defined as a period of relative inactivity where the body’s senses and voluntary muscles are inactive. This entry examines current themes around sleep and young children, including how sleep contributes to healthy growth and development, the phases of sleep, and factors affecting sleep.

Phases of Sleep

Sleep has two distinct phases: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) or dreamless, quiet sleep that is divided into four mini-stages of increasing depth; and rapid eye movement (REM) or active sleep where vivid dreaming occurs. In newborns, 50% of sleep is REM sleep. As children age, however, the percentage of NREM and REM sleep changes. By 4 months, approximately 40% of sleep is REM sleep and by 1 year, 25% of sleep is REM. Eventually, children match the adult average ...

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