Working with experts in the field of sleep science, we’ve defined the four most influential factors to sleep health. Since the science behind sleep can be rather complex (just like science in general tends to be complex), we wanted to provide a combination guide and glossary that parents can use when reading and absorbing the sleep report they receive for their child. Whether they chose to assess their child’s sleep because they think sleep might be at the cause of daytime behavior issues or they were just curious about the time between bed and breakfast when they really don’t know what their kid is doing: a Knit Sleep Report provides answers.
While your child sleeps, their body is hard at work growing muscles, strengthening memories and producing hormones. The exact right amount of sleep for your child depends on how long it takes them to relax and the efficiency of the restoration process during sleep.
What does it look like when your child is getting the right quantity of sleep?
- The amount is within the age-based expert recommended range
- The efficiency, aka time in bed vs time asleep, is 92-98%
- Your child wakes up refreshed and maintains energy through the entire day
How much is enough sleep for your child?
Knit App Tip
You can see if your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep each night by looking at the Daily Dashboard in your Knit Sleep Assistant app.
How is quality sleep defined?
- Fewer than 5 wake-ups a night
- Balanced cycling between sleep stages
- No pattern of wake-ups that would indicate an interruptive element such as noise, light or night terrors
What are the stages of sleep?
- Awake: Activity that lasts more than 20 seconds but that you rarely remember. Many children have up to five wake-ups a night.
- Still Sleep: aka Slow Wave, this is the deepest stage of sleep where the brain and body do the housekeeping. your child will be completely still with a consistent breathing pattern in this stage.
- Active Sleep: The lightest stage of sleep, where body movements are common. Curiously, this is also when REM happens, during which the body stays still to keep you from acting out vivid dreams while the brain solves problems from the day and strengthens memories. Confusing, right?
What’s the difference between wake-ups (which you can see in your app) and arousals (which are included in a Sleep Report)?
An arousal is activity that lasts less than 20 seconds, while a wake-up is more than 20 seconds of activity. Arousals occur frequently during sleep, but an unusually high number of arousals can fragment sleep and may be an indicator of breathing issues. I’ll dive more into breathing in a future email, as it is a crucial part of sleep health.
Now it’s time to talk about the cornerstone of sleep that you, as a parent, have the most control over: routine.
Why is routine important?
A good sleep routine matches your child’s unique internal clock. Changes in routine throw off the internal clock, causing a mini case of jet lag every time the body has to work to reset.
What constitutes a good routine?
A good sleep routine has a +/- 30 minute window for both bedtime and wake up, 7 days a week, with a consistent number of hours slept each night. Routine sets your internal clock so that when you go to bed at the same time every night, you can wake up naturally at the right time, without an alarm.
What is latency and what’s a good range?
The time it takes to fall asleep once your child is in bed is known as sleep latency. You’ll know you’ve started a good routine when your child’s latency is within 5-20 minutes.
We do it all day everyday, but breathing during sleep is way different than breathing during the day. Here's some overall information about sleep breathing that every parent should understand.
Why is breathing while asleep different than breathing while awake?
Breathing becomes reflexive during sleep, so if your child’s body is working hard to breathe for some reason, it affects sleep quality and therefore daytime behavior.
What causes breathing disturbances?
There are a number of potential causes with varying degrees of severity, from nighttime allergies to sleep position to jaw/teeth development. If the sleep experts that review your child’s sleep data identify breathing issues, their most important recommendation will be to determine the source of the problem.
Should you be worried if your child has breathing disturbances?
Most children have some breathing disturbances at night, which only become an issue when their sleep is affected. your child’s Sleep Report will let you know if concern is necessary.
How does the number of breathing disturbances translate to the potential severity of the issue?
The breathing cornerstone requires our sleep experts' analysis of your child’s data to determine not only if your child could have a breathing issue, but also their recommendations to identify the source. Sleep breathing issues are visible only by the Knit camera technology and in a professional sleep lab.
The Four Cornerstones of Sleep provide a useful framework to understand many facets of your child’s sleep health, beyond the data that can be gathered in a single night in a sleep lab. Once you receive your child’s sleep report, reach out to your sleep guide with anything that is still unclear. This is your child’s sleep health, and we take that seriously.
Sleep Report Glossary
A list of terms it will be useful to understand when you begin to read your child’s sleep report.
Active Sleep: The lightest stage of sleep. Body movements, like leg kicks, jerking and rocking are very common but consult your doctor if they’re disrupting your child’s sleep.This is also the stage in which we have REM sleep, where we dream vividly but our bodies remain still. Children are more active than adults in REM sleep and have variable breathing patterns.
Arousal: 5-30 seconds of activity during your child’s sleep period. An abrupt change from “deeper” stage of sleep to a “lighter” stage, or from REM sleep to wakefulness, with the possibility of ultimately awakening
Breathing Disruption: An event that disrupts your natural breathing pattern and can potentially affect your sleep quality.
Central Apnea: Caused by a lack of a brain signal to muscles which lasts about 20 seconds. A few of these per night is normal, particularly in children and at the moment of falling asleep.
Hypopneas: Characterized as shallow breathing caused by a narrow airway.
Obstructive Apnea: Characterized by a pause in breathing caused by a closed airway.
School Night: Sunday through Thursday.
Sleep Apnea: A potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly affects your overall sleep quality.
Sleep Efficiency: The ratio of total time spent asleep to the total amount of time spent in bed. A lower sleep efficiency is often related to a higher number or longer duration of wake-ups. Typically a child's sleep efficiency should fall between 92-98%.
Sleep Latency: The measure of how long it takes your child to fall asleep after bedtime. Sleep latency is a good indicator if your child’s bedtime is right for them. Typically a child's normal sleep latency is between 5-20 minutes.
Sleep Quality: Measurement of the stages of sleep. Factors that are measured include:
- Amount of time in bed
- Amount of time in deep sleep
- Consistency of the sleep
- Number of times you were fully awake
Sleep Quantity: The total sleep period that your child needs.
Still Sleep: The deepest stage of sleep. Children in this stage are completely still with a consistent breathing pattern.
Total Sleep: Total time your child sleeps, including naps, if they are still in that age range.
Total Sleep Time: The amount of sleep in a sleep period, removing any time spent awake in bed or any wake-ups throughout the night.
Wake-up: More than 30 seconds of activity during your child’s sleep period.
Weekend: Friday and Saturday.