One of the most common concerns I hear from parents, especially of younger babies, is that their little ones will go down for naps with no fussing or protest, only to wake up half an hour later, clearly still tired, but refusing to go back to sleep.
There’s actually a simple explanation for why this happens, why it’s always around the same time, and some straightforward ways to solve the problem, and I’ll go through the whole works in today’s video.
You know, it’s one the experience every new parents has that you just get this baby to fall asleep in your arms, you manage to ever so gently get them into the crib, slide your hands out just so, back away from the crib, and 20 minutes later she’s awake, and she’s crying.
And you think, oh my gosh, you know, I did all that hard work to get her to sleep in the first place, and she only took a 20 minute nap. I’m gonna share with you some tips today on how to deal with what I call the curse of the short nap.
The first thing you wanna remember is that if you are doing all of the work; meaning you’re rocking, and feeding, and bouncing, and doing all of the stuff required to get your little one to fall asleep in your arms, then the chances of a nap lasting any kind of quality length is very, very slim. And that is because all of us are aware of our surroundings while we sleep.
We would have had to be, if you think about it from an evolutionary perspective. You have to at least have some awareness of what’s going on around you.
So, a baby realizes, or senses that they’re not in the same location they were in when they fell asleep, and that’s a fairly alarming realization. And they usually wake up pretty mad, and crying right away.
So the first step is to help your baby fall asleep in the same location you would like her to stay asleep in. And if that seems like an impossibility for you, then I want you to pick up a copy of The Sleep Sense Program, ’cause that’s gonna give you a step by step guide for teaching your baby how to fall asleep in the same place you’d like her to stay asleep, and help her develop her own skills around sleep, which is so important, and really the crux of why babies aren’t sleeping well. So that’s step number one.
The second thing you need to look at is timing. Some people are going to soon for the nap, some people are waiting too long for the nap. The most common mistake I see is people waiting too long for a nap. And what happens then is baby gets overtired.
An overtired baby has a hard time falling asleep, and then the sleep that comes afterwards is very fragmented and light, and it usually leads to too short of a nap time.
So you wanna have, again, if you have The Sleep Sense Program, there is a guide in the nap chapter that kinda outlines the different ages and the time period in which that child can tolerate before they need another nap. But for the sake of our example here today, let’s say it’s a six month old.
Well, most six month olds can only handle about two and a half, maybe three hours of time awake before they’re gonna need sleep, so start there and kinda tinker with it; maybe she needs a little less, maybe just a tiny bit more, until you get that sweet spot. There really is a sweet spot.
Another thing you wanna think about is darkness and quiet. You know, a lot of people say, oh well, I don’t want her to get too used to it being quiet. But think about when you’re taking a nap. Is it easy to take a nap if somebody’s vacuuming, or if somebody’s like, loading the dishwasher, or if people are yelling in the house? I mean, you’re not gonna nap well if there’s lots of environmental noise.
So you wanna keep that in mind; minimize the noise level as much as you can. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, or you’ve got a dog that barks every time the doorbell rings, put in white noise of some kind. My favorite is the Dohm sound machine; it just gives out a nice, clean, white noise experience that just helps buffer some of that environmental noise that might be waking her.
Darkness is also very important. We wanna kinda keep the lights as low as we can; block out that sunlight that’s coming in the window, and that’s gonna help encourage her to go through one cycle, and into the next. And that should help improve the quality and the length of the nap.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!