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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Becky says

    Nice to see this article. I was working with Nicole a few months back regarding my then 9/10-month old. He was waking at all hours in the morning (between 6AM and 7:30AM) despite a routine bedtime. He’d also have a tremendously hard time going to sleep at night, needing to be pat on the back or otherwise reassured several times before falling asleep. This was vastly different from his daytime nap routine, where he’d easily go down for both morning and afternoon naps and sleep 2-2.5 hours for BOTH naps. We couldn’t figure exactly what the issue was with his erratic morning waking and difficult bedtime (and overnight – frequent “reassurance”-type waking). Finally, as much as I didn’t want to, I limited his naptime. I kept his morning and afternoon nap to 1.5 hours max so he never got more than 3 hours during the day. Within a few days, his entire schedule regulated and ever since then, except for the occasional illness or new tooth, he follows the schedule:
    7:30am – wake
    10am – nap (1.5 – and I sometimes have to wake him)
    2:30 – nap (1 – 1.5 – and I usually have to wake him)
    7:30 – lights out

    I was exasperated with his completely inconsistent wakings, both at night and in the morning. This went on for weeks, perhaps 2+ months, before I finally gave reducing total nap time a try. I was surprised and thrilled with the results.

    It won’t work for everyone’s situation and baby’s temperament, but it’s definintely worth a try if you just can’t figure out what else might be going on.

    Best of luck to everyone.

  2. Fabi says

    @meagan true! The lights r all off though in his room. He sleeps in a pitch black room. Only way he would sleep- MR OBSERVANT lol! And when I go in for him around 6am I switch the light on. But I have a camera in his room and he never goes back to sleep >_<

  3. Meagan says

    @Fabi It might still be worth a try. If he’s waking up and waiting for you (calm or not) the light could be a concrete symbol that it’s not time yet. My son wakes up early sometimes, but usually he looks for the light, and if it’s not on, just goes back to sleep.

  4. Kelly says

    I’m wondering if we’re pushing into the “too long a nap” phase with our 27 month old. He naps at 1 PM for anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours, depending on if he’s with the nanny (weekdays, short nap) or us (weekends, long nap). Lately, he’s been wide awake at his usual bedtime which has been getting pushed back later and later. He’s now up until 9 or even 9:30 most nights, even when we put him down at 8 and is up in the morning by 6:45, perfectly awake. He’s also up for a potty break in the middle of the night for 20 minutes or so. It seems like 9 hours at night isn’t nearly enough but he definitely needs his nap. Should we be working on shortening that and increasing his nighttime sleep block?

  5. Fabi says

    @meagan oh! I see! Oh well I nvr go in until at least 6am. He just stays quiet but I mean that it’s getting him over tired. Bc he’s waking early with a late bedtime bc he’s pushing it. Regression I assume lol! But sometimes he does kick the walls and wakes hyper haha! I was hoping that light was a solution to our early wakes, but he doesn’t cry when he wakes. Isn’t refusing naps. It’s bedtime he pushes but he doesn’t cry. He just talks. Lol- we go in and help from time to time. He’s almost 18mths so I think he started regressing earlier. Blah! Thanks for ur great response! Sounds like u got it handled!

  6. Meagan says

    Thanks Emily!

    @Fabi I’m not sure it would be good to try in the middle of a regression… We waited until the regression seemed to have run it’s course, but sleep hadnt improved enough for anyone’s sanity. For us, that meant he was going to sleep at night without crying, and either not waking at night, or waking but settling himself within a few minutes. His wake up time had actually settled between 4:45 and 5 by then. The regression had lasted about 2 months at this point (!!!). I have no idea if the wake up light thing would work while a toddler was still fighting against sleep… Maybe Emuly or Nicole can chime in.

    What we did is set up a night light (not light sensitive since it has to come on in the daytime) with a timer set to turn on 15 minutes after his normal wake up time. I think we started with 5:15. At night, when we put him down, we told him, “This is the wake up light. We’ll come and get you when the wake up light turns on.” then in the morning, we let him cry until 5:15, and went to get him. He caught on by the second day and was sleeping (or at least quiet) until 5:15 within a few days. Once he was quiet till 5:15 for two mornings in a row, we shifted it to 5:30. So on until we hit 7:15. We did the same thing for nap time, starting with 1:30, (he cried the whole nap the first day) and shifting it later gradually. I was surprised how quickly and well it worked.

    I think the most important things are:
    Don’t go up before the light goes on, or the “magic” is broken (so you have to be up for some crying to do this I think).
    Go up as promptly as possible once the light goes on AND your child is awake, or he won’t trust the light.
    Don’t try to shift the time later too quickly or your child will be too upset to take notice of the light by the time you get him.
    We remind him every night and nap time that we’ll come for him when the light comes on.

  7. Fabi says

    @Wendi haha oh yea 😛

  8. Wendi says

    Thanks for the advice, I’ll keep up what I’m currently doing. And I know…the dreaded 4mth sleep regression is coming. I’m already seeing signs as she has been having some strange, unlike her, night wakings. She is a very easy going baby, so finger crossed things don’t go too crazy 🙂

    Thanks again! I love this site!

  9. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Wendi — I’d say you’re right in thinking that she’s a little too young for 2 naps at this point. Babies generally stick with three naps until they’re closer to 6 months (and some 6 month olds still need a “catnap” after dinner in order to make it until bedtime!)

    I’d say that overall, if the nap management is working okay for you, and if your baby’s sleeping well (and it sounds like yours definitely is!), then there’s nothing wrong with it. However, it’s possible that nap management won’t work indefinitely. If she hasn’t already, your daughter will soon be going through the 4 month sleep regression, and during that phase, her sleep patterns will shift. So what works now may not work as well in another month or so. (You can read more about the 4 month regression here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/how-we-sleep/4-month-old-sleep-regression/)

    Overall, I think it’s fine to stick with what’s working now, but to prepare yourself for the fact that you’ll very likely need to change (and re-change!) your strategy as your baby grows.

    Thanks for commenting, Wendi! Keep us posted on your little one’s progress. 🙂

  10. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Fabi — yes, the regressions have a way of wrecking everything, don’t they? 😉

    @ kolly — I wouldn’t think that 30 minutes would make that much of a difference, but then again, every toddler is different. It could be the little bit of extra sleep, combined with the tooth coming in, threw your little guy off his game.

    Regarding the preparation for daycare: you may find that when he’s at daycare, he doesn’t nap as well there as he does at home. We find that’s the case for a number of families. So, truth be told, daycare may actually help in this regard — if he doesn’t nap quite as well there, you may find that bedtime is easier at home! Something to think about, anyway.

    Thanks for commenting, kolly!