Steps to Better Naps: Part 2 (Old)

Babies 4-5 months or age can often stay awake for 1.5 to 2 hours. If they stay awake longer than their wakeful window, it can make it more difficult to fall asleep, cause more restless sleep and be more difficult to stay asleep.

Read steps 1 and 2 here.

Step 3: Naptime Routines

Often babies will benefit form a short naptime routine before going down to sleep. This routine should be less than 5 minutes long and can be an abbreviated form of the bedtime routine.

Step 4: Catch up at the end of the day

It is also important to make sure your baby does not get overtired before bedtime as well. Being awake too long at any time during the day causes elevated levels of cortisol which makes it more challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep and also fragments sleep cycles. Here are some common results of going to bed overtired:

  •  Difficulty falling asleep (often taking 40-60 minutes)
  • Burst of energy before bed
  • Steady crying at bedtime (even when comforted) often lasts up to 60 minutes
  • Waking up within 1 hour of going to bed and needing help falling back to sleep
  • Additional night wakings or restless sleep
  • Early morning rising (before 6am)

Find out how to catch up at the end of the day.

Step 5: Try a nap trail

Sometimes babies can easily fall asleep on their own for the first nap of the day. This step may be particularly helpful for parents who need to remain present with their child during naps, holding, laying beside or nursing for example.

This can be challenging for parents day after day. It’s always nice if you have a chance to go to the washroom or take a shower. Your baby may surprise you with the ability to fall asleep in his own bed for that first nap, particularly if he has had a good night sleep. At least it won’t hurt to give the nap a try.

Find out how to do a nap trail.

Step 6: Work on nighttime sleep first

If you need to make some changes in your sleep it will be much easier to focus on bedtime and night sleep. Bedtime is the easiest time to learn sleep skills and improving night sleep often improves day sleep on it’s own.

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