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寝ている赤ちゃん
寝ている赤ちゃん

生後3ヶ月の赤ちゃんの睡眠時間の変化と接し方のポイント

寝る赤ちゃん

生後3ヶ月ころから赤ちゃんは、睡眠時間のリズムが24時間という時計のリズムに合致するようになってきます。赤ちゃんの睡眠時間のリズムは、生後3ヶ月頃からサーカディアンリズムという、24時間の生活リズムをとることができるようになってきます。そこで、生後3ヶ月頃をめどにして、赤ちゃんの睡眠時間に配慮してあげることが重要です。

ここでは、生後3ヶ月頃の赤ちゃんの睡眠時間に関して配慮したい点についてまとめています。

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生後3ヶ月の赤ちゃんの睡眠時間

寝る赤ちゃん

赤ちゃんの生後3ヶ月の時期というと、新しい家族が増えて家庭に馴染んできた頃ではないでしょうか。生後3ヶ月、これからもっともっと、すくすくと成長していく赤ちゃんの成長を心から楽しみにしたい時期です。

生後3ヶ月となると赤ちゃんも少しずつ、外部の環境に慣れて来るようになります。そして生活リズムにも変化が生じてきます。生後3ヶ月頃を境目として生じる赤ちゃんの大きな変化として、睡眠時間の変化を上げることができます。

ウルトラディアンリズムとサーカディアンリズム

赤ちゃんは生後3ヶ月位をめどとして、睡眠時間のリズムがウルトラディアンリズムからサーカディアンリズムへと変化します。非常に難しいイメージの用語に感じられるかもしれませんが、要は、朝おきて夜眠るという一般的な睡眠時間のリズムを取るようになるということです。

生まれたばかりの赤ちゃんは、まだ人間社会における時計・時間の概念を持っていません。そのため、自分自身の体の体内時計のリズムに従って睡眠と覚醒をします。これをウルトラディアンリズムといいます。極端、人間社会の時計に従えば、朝の10時に寝て夜の1時に起きるという極めて不規則に見えてしまう睡眠時間のリズムも、生まれたばかりの赤ちゃんは持っていてもおかしくはないということです。

この赤ちゃん独自の睡眠時間のリズムは、生後3ヶ月程度を境に一般社会の時計のリズムに適合するようになってきます。つまり、1日24時間という現在の社会の時間リズムに慣れて来ます。1日24時間の体内時計リズムをサーカディアンリズムといいます。そこで生後3ヶ月の時期で赤ちゃんの睡眠時間は、朝おきて日中に活動して夜眠るというリズムをとることとなります。

生後3ヶ月以降の赤ちゃんの睡眠時間を正しくしてあげるためには

このように生後3ヶ月をひとつのめどとして赤ちゃんの睡眠時間のリズムは、社会に適合してくるようになります。とはいえ、生後3ヶ月になれば自然に睡眠時間のリズムが規則正しいものとなるわけではありません。生後3ヶ月頃を境にして睡眠時間のリズムが規則正しいものとなるきっかけを得たということに過ぎません。

そこで、お母さん・お父さんなどは、生後3ヶ月を過ぎた頃から、赤ちゃんの睡眠時間のリズムが規則正しいものとなるよう、色々と支援をしてあげることが重要となります。具体的には、生後3ヶ月をめどに以下のような支援をしてあげることが、規則正しい睡眠時間を早く身につけさせるためには効果的です。

まず、ポイントとなるのはメラトニンという脳内物質になります。メラトニンは睡眠を誘う脳内物質であり、規則正しい睡眠時間を確保するために重要な役割を果たすことになります。

成人の場合、メラトニンはセロトニンという物質と対になって、起床時に太陽の光を全身で浴びることにより夜メラトニンの分泌が多くなります。この点は生後3ヶ月の赤ちゃんでも違いはないため、朝はお日様にあたる場所にベットを移動させるなどがおすすめできます。毎朝、朝日を浴びる位置にベットを設置することで、睡眠時間を規則正しいものとすることを支援することができます。

また、メラトニンは母乳からも摂取します。生後3ヶ月の時点ではまだまだ母乳が必要であるとともに食欲も旺盛となりますので、母乳をたくさん飲ませてあげることも規則正しい睡眠時間を身につけさせるためには非常に効果的です。

その他、夜になったらしっかりと暗い環境を確保してあげることも正しい睡眠時間のリズムを身につけさせるためには重要です。その他、体の発育に従って生後3ヶ月の子にぴったりの寝具を用意してあげることも重要でしょう。生後3ヶ月の時点は睡眠時間のリズムが「社会的」となる一つの分岐点ですので、睡眠時間のリズムに配慮してあげることが重要です。

イラストでわかる!  赤ちゃんにもママにも優しい安眠ガイド
清水 悦子
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まとめ:規則正しい睡眠時間は生後3ヶ月から

以上、本文で述べました生後3ヶ月の赤ちゃんの睡眠時間についてのポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • 生後3ヶ月頃をきっかけに、赤ちゃんの睡眠時間のリズムはサーカディアンリズムになり始めます。つまり、24時間の時計に合わせた睡眠時間のリズムをとり始めるのが生後3ヶ月の頃ということになります
  • 生後3ヶ月を過ぎた頃から赤ちゃんの睡眠時間のリズムをよくするための支援をしてあげることが重要です。具体的には、メラトニンという脳内物質の分泌を促すように朝は太陽の光を浴びさせることや母乳をしっかりと撮らせてあげることなどが重要です。また、寝具、眠る際の環境にも配慮してあげましょう

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