Are you frustrated when your baby wakes up too early?
Believe it or not you do not have to live with a 5:00 a.m. wake up time if you prepare your child with a healthy sleep routine. There are sleep solutions to all of your child’s sleep problems. You can reclaim your sanity!
I often ask parents to consider certain “sleep myths” that have been passed off as “sleep wisdom” over the years.
To get to the truth of sleep we must take a look at what is not true.
Here are the top sleep myths that lead to early rising.
- Later to bed later to rise – Nope! In fact most often the opposite is true. Even if your child does wake later, habituating to a late bedtime and late wake up is not a healthy habit.
- If there are multiple wakings in the night or early rising, cut out nap or shorten nap – NO! I rarely recommend shortening a nap or cutting out nap.
Tips for the Early Riser
1. Make sure bedtime is early enough and more importantly at a consistent time each night. My general recommendation is asleep by 7:00 and no later than 7:30.
2. Make sure your child is getting adequate nap time for his/her developmental stage. Naps are harder than night sleep and yet are WELL worth the effort.
3. Where the nap(s) fall in the daily routine is very important. The awake time between that last nap and bedtime (for older infants and toddlers) should not be more than 4-5 hours. For newborn babies and infants this time awake can be even less.
4. When it comes to sleep, timing is everything. Therefore, if you notice any of the following in your child’s behavior you might be missing the right “window” of timing for sleep.
- Your child becomes very cranky and there is a lot of crying and resistance at bedtime.
- That commonly difficult hour between 4:30 and 7:00 pm becomes hell on earth with many meltdowns and tantrums.
- Your child gets whipped up and swept away by the dreaded “second wind”.
- Once in bed it takes 60 – 90 minutes for your child to fall asleep.
- Your child is suddenly and uncharacteristically waking several times in the night.
- Your child is waking up too early. Too early meaning before 6:00 a.m.
Less than 25% of children fall into the category of
true early risers
I am of the 75% and was very disappointed when I learned that my son was a true early riser.
- It is genetic.
- No matter what time they go to bed they wake between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m.
- It starts to present at 5-6 months
- It lasts for about 7 years
- They tend to take longer naps.
- They tend to take longer transitioning to fewer naps.
- Once they arrive at one nap a day that nap can be up to 3.5 hours.
There are wonderful qualities of the early riser in both temperament and personality.
These qualities were much easier to appreciate when I was well rested.