I’ve worked with a lot of parents who are under the impression that, if their baby doesn’t sleep during the day, they’ll sleep better at night. After all, he’ll be so tired when bedtime rolls around that he’ll just conk out and sleep peacefully until late the next morning. Right?
Wrong! Naps are an essential part of your little one’s sleep schedule, and skipping them or moving them around will have a negative effect of baby’s nighttime sleep. In today’s video, I’ll explain why, and how you can help to ensure that your baby gets the long, restful daytime naps he needs.Rather read than watch? Click here.
Dana: Hi, I’m Dana. Welcome to this week’s video. Today I want to talk about naps. I get lots of questions from people wondering why won’t this baby nap for more than 10 minutes every day, and I want to give you some tips today for helping to encourage nice, long day time naps. Now first of all, don’t let anyone tell you that naps are not important. They are very important. The better a baby sleeps through the day, the better they’re going to sleep at night because getting daytime sleep means that they’re not getting overtired and for a baby, overtiredness is really their worst enemy. The more overtired a baby becomes, the harder it is actually for them to fall asleep and it’s much harder for them to stay asleep in the night.
We really want to avoid that with some age appropriate napping, all right? Now the most common complaint I hear from parents is that the baby won’t stay asleep, right? I put her down in her crib for her morning nap and 20 minutes later, she’s awake and I can’t get her back to sleep. I call it the curse of the short nap and it’s really, really common. Now here’s why. Basically one sleep cycle for a baby is 40 to 45 minutes long. It can be as short as 30. What happens when we reached the end of one cycle is that we wake up briefly and then hopefully we go right into another sleep cycle and sleep a nice long nap.
What happens with babies who are put into the crib already asleep is that they get to the end of the cycle realized hey, I’m not still in your arms so that bottle is no longer in my mouth and they wake up crying. Then because they’ve had a little bit of sleep already, the fatigue is not enough to really get them back into another cycle. You really get stuck a baby who has napped for 20 minutes. It’s not long enough. They’re still grouchy. It’s not time to feed yet, so it really messes up the entire day. The good news is by teaching a baby to fall asleep independently at the beginning of the nap, it’s going to encourage a long lengthy nap because if she wakes up at the end of a sleep cycle, she’s got the skill she needs to get herself right back into another one.
Your 40-minute nap turns into an hour and a half long nap and that is much, much better. Have a look at your baby’s day and see if yes actually I always rock her to sleep and that is exactly why only sleeps for 20 minutes and start working on the skills that she needs for getting herself to sleep on her own in the first place. Now nap, how many naps is a common question I get asked. I’m just going to give you a quick rundown. If we’re talking about 3-month-old babies, they usually need 3 naps at day. If we’re talking about a 7-month-old baby, they need 2, 13-month-old needs one. It’s just roughly what we’re looking at for the different age groups. I hope that helps answer the question.
I know it’s never easy to teach a baby to become a great independent sleeper, but it’s so worth it in the long run because you get nice long naps and you get a baby who knows how to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. It just makes the baby happier and it makes life a little easier for you because at least you get a little bit of a break during the day. Thanks so much for watching. 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!