1. It’s BRIGHT. You need a nearly pitch-black room in the morning as the sun begins to rise, and a dark room is a must for nap time. Wood blinds and/or blackout shades often aren’t enough, so I suggest window covers to achieve this (see example on my website under Sleep Must Haves.) In my daughter’s case, the MINUTE I put up this shade, she slept in an entire hour LATER. In her case, the morning sun was her “signal” that it was time to wake up for the day, which she could no longer see once the blackout shade was up. For some children however, this may only be a temporary fix, so buy it, and then keep reading.
2. The last “Wake window” of your child’s day is too long. A wake window is the time spent awake between sleeps. For Newborns, this could be 45-90 minutes. Knowing what your min and max wake window is by age is extremely important to time your naps, so baby doesn’t become overtired, and they change nearly every 3-6 months of childhood. For help with schedules ages 0-4, take this FREE & fun quiz to get a schedule you can download straight to your computer or phone.
3. Bedtime is TOO EARLY or TOO LATE. On average, children under 5 are capable of sleeping about 11-12 hours per night, give or take depending on how many hours of naps they take during the day. A bedtime before 7pm could cause even the best sleeping baby to wake up too early (like 5am!) depending on those nap lengths. On the flip side, pushing back their bedtime in hopes that “they might sleep in” often backfires or results in night wakings, and children will typically continue to wake up early regardless, unless bedtime is consistently pushed back along with the rest of the day’s normal routines and activities, what’s known as “Schedule Shifting”. Read more about this here.
4. Poor Napping. If your baby is under 6 months, you’ll be wanting at LEAST 3-4 hours per day of napping, if not more for the younger ones. Between 6-18 months, your child needs at least 2-3 hours of napping. Over 18 months, at least 1.5 total hours of napping. Not meeting these minimums? You’ll want to look into some nap lengthening techniques if your baby or tot is sleeping pretty well at night. If your child is still waking more than 2x a night or, unable to sleep longer than 4+ hours straight, you’ll want to look into the Baby Sleep Academy training class or this Toddler Sleep Guide which are packed with sleep shaping techniques that are science-backed, #momlife approved, and already trusted by families worldwide! If baby is currently going through the 3-4M regression, which can start as early as 13 weeks old, you’ll want to grab the regression class, only $49 here with this link!
5. You tried cry-it-out, pop-ins, or a Ferber method to sleep train. Ok, before you throw tomatoes at me, hear me out: babies that are taught cry-it-out, Ferber, or other popular “pop-in” methods as a response to being unable to fall asleep at bedtime and night wakings, almost always wake up too early for the day, because they are extremely overtired due to the amounts of sleep lost with these methods. With my programs, we work backwards from nights to naps, so baby’s “sleep tank” is full while learning to fall asleep independently. Get your hands my modern sleep training techniques here, to encourage baby to sleep train in a way that feels natural, so you can stress less, and sleep more.