How much should a baby sleep?
All mammals, from rabbits to horses and even human cubs, need sleep. In mammals, the right hours of sleep are guaranteed by alternating light and dark. In the first weeks of life, a baby still has no sense of day or night and it takes a few months for this to happen.

Here’s how much a baby should sleep:

·         In the first month of life a baby sleeps between 16 and 18 hours a day and consecutive sleep lasts 3-4 hours and then the baby wakes up.

·         From about the second or third month of life, a baby tends to increase night-time sleep up to 5-6 consecutive hours and to wake up when hungry.

·         Progressively, starting from 6 months, a baby tends to rest more hours at night.

·         At 1-2 years of age, a small child should sleep between 14 and 11 hours distributed between night and day.

·         Pre-schoolers should sleep 10 to 12 hours a day; up to 3-4 years of age, it is advisable to maintain the habit of taking an afternoon nap.

·         No less than 9-10 hours between the ages of 6 and 13.
 

Why we need sleep
The brain is the most complex organ of our body; it works more than all other organs and inevitably produces much more toxic waste than all the others. The accumulation of these substances and the reception of numerous stimuli generate a gradual and progressive need to rest. In order to recover perfect efficiency, the brain needs sleep. Sleep is therefore a fundamental need for our survival and well-being, and is just as important as eating and drinking.

What happens during sleep?
During sleep, the brain is far from resting. When we sleep, certain areas of the brain, which are used when awake and for consciousness, ""shut down"" creating a barrier between us and external stimuli. At the same time, neurons in other areas of the brain ‘switch on’ and start working: Their job consists in eliminating waste and toxic substances produced during wake activity, and in selecting the important information, those that the brain “uses most"" (REM phase) while the less important, ""less used"" information (non-REM phase) is eliminated. This work can be done only at night, because during the day the brain is engaged in many other activities.

Why rest is essential for everyone, especially children?
If a baby has slept enough, his brain is completely cleansed. This is essential for good mood, to be concentrated and able to cope with daytime emotions. Moreover, the right sleep in a child ensures the development of learning and memory building processes, which are precious and crucial functions for growth. When children open their eyes in the morning, they will be in a good mood, curious to face the day and to discover many new things, they will be able to concentrate on the activities they usually carry out and will be able to relate with parents, educators and classmates.