I know, I know. You don’t want to complain about early wake-ups now that baby’s finally sleeping through the night. But getting up at 5 AM is no picnic for you or your baby, and solving what is often the final piece of the sleep puzzle is usually easier than parents expect, and well worth that last little bit of effort.
In today’s video, I’ll tell you what causes those early risers to stir before the sun comes up, and how to maybe even get them to sleep in past your first cup of coffee.Rather read than watch? Click here.
– Hi, I’m Dana, welcome to this week’s video.
It might have taken you a few nights to get your little one sleeping well and now they’re sleeping better than they ever have in their life let’s say but they’re waking up too early.
That is probably the number one complaint that I hear from parents who have started the Sleep Sense program is that oh my gosh, it’s great but she’s waking up at five o’clock in the morning. What can I do about that?
Well, I’m gonna give you some tips today for dealing with that. The first thing to keep in mind is that this takes time.
If you’ve just started the program and you’ve already seen some great progress, just celebrate that. Maybe you’re not quite where you wanna be yet but it’s gonna come. It’s just gonna take some time.
I find the early morning wake up is the last thing that comes around and that can be into week two and even into week three before a baby’s body is ready to consolidate a full 11 or 12 hours of sleep. So they wake up at the 10 hour mark and feel okay, right? They feel better than they’ve felt in a long time and think that it’s time to get up for the day and that should phase out with time as long as you’re doing one really important thing and that is making sure that you stick to your minimum.
Now, I recommend people’s minimum not be anything before six a.m. So if your little one’s up in the 4:30, five o’clock hour, treat it like a nighttime wake up. Do exactly what you would do if it were three o’clock in the morning. Don’t do anything different until at least six a.m. rolls around.
If at six a.m. you think, okay, let’s call it for the night, that’s it, get up, start your day with your child and know that this will phase out with time as long as you stick to that minimum.
Now, if you allow your baby to get up in the five o’clock hour then that’s most likely where it’s gonna stay unfortunately and even if six o’clock is your minimum and you start letting a child get up at 10 to six then it turns into 6:45 then it turns into 22. So I find that if you let a child get up earlier, it just creeps earlier and earlier.
So you really, it’s really important that you’re sticking to that minimum. Alright, another thing to think about is lighting, right? Is the sun coming in at that hour? Even the slightest and I mean slightest change in light can stimulate a wake up. In fact, it stimulates a wake up in most of us, right? When that summer sun starts rising at five o’clock in the morning, you’ll notice too that that’s a trigger. That’ll wake you up and you’re gonna need to make sure that your room is as dark as you can possibly make it so that that doesn’t happen.
So it doesn’t have to be pretty. Get garbage bags, get black blankets. I don’t care what you do but you’ve really gotta keep that sun out or it will wake her up.
Another thing is noise, any kind of environmental noise. Now, while we’re in that phase of our sleep usually in those early morning hours, our bodies are doing a lot of REM sleep and REM sleep is very light sleep. So it would be easy to wake your baby in that hour.
So if somebody’s getting up for work or the birds start chirping or the garbage trucks start going by, all those little things are going to wake her and then she might decide that it’s time to get up for the day and not wanna go back to sleep. Even the furnace kicking in. Honestly, just little, tiny things like that. If your furnace kicks in and you notice that it makes a sound, you’ll probably find that your baby’s waking up around that time every morning too.
So you can try running some white noise. That’s a good solution if you’ve got those things happening in your environment to just drown out or buffer some of those birds or garbage trucks or whatever it is that’s happening. That can be a great way to keep a baby sleeping a little later into the morning.
Just one last tip before I say goodbye. The rational idea or thought as an adult is well, she’s getting up too early. It must mean we need to move bedtime later and I get why you think that, right? It makes sense from an adult’s perspective that well, maybe the later she stays up at night, the better she’ll sleep in the morning and I’m here to tell you that, I’m not saying that that’s never the case but that’s very rarely the case.
Usually, it’s the other way that the baby’s going to bed too late and that is why they’re having an early morning wake up because overtiredness is really a child’s worst enemy when it comes to sleep and if she went to bed overtired, she’ll have a more restless sleep, there’ll be more fragmentation to the night and there usually is an early morning wake up.
So I would suggest before you try anything else, just move bedtime up even half an hour and give it several days before you judge if this is working or not because body clocks take time to get in line and see if that makes a big difference to that early morning wake up.
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!