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Three Things You Didn’t Know About Naps

1. Car seat and stroller naps

Every parent knows how difficult it is to get their child to their crib every time they need a nap.

Car seats and strollers provide a great solution for parents when they’re on the go and baby starts yawning and rubbing her eyes.

Or do they?

The obvious problem with the car seat or stroller nap is that your child will start to associate motion with falling asleep, and could then have a hard time falling asleep without it.

Your child might look like they’re resting peacefully as you push them along in their stroller, or snoozing in their car seat, but looks can be oh so deceiving.

Continuous motion keeps us from achieving the level of sleep we need to experience the mental and physical restoration we get when sleeping in our beds.

Think… when was the last time you slept on a plane or a car trip and woke up feeling completely rested?

Make no mistake; kids are going to doze off in their car seats and strollers.

It’s unavoidable, but when they do, it’s best to try and keep them still until they finish off their nap.

If you’re close to home, try bringing them into the house in their car seat. If you can get them into their bed without waking them up, go for it. If not, let them finish off their nap in their car seat or stroller. Just keep them as still as possible.

If you’re not able to get them into the house within a five or ten-minute window, consider shutting off the car or finding a shady spot to park the stroller, and reading a book or catching up on your emails until your child wakes up.

It’s a tall order, of course.

Parents today are always pressed for time, but consider the time and effort involved if your child wakes up cranky and irritable after their nap.

2. Better naps mean better nighttime sleep

It’s a common misconception that if your youngster misses a nap, they’ll sleep better at night.

After all, they’ll be that much sleepier when bedtime rolls around, right?

Unfortunately, it’s exactly the opposite.

When your child misses a scheduled nap, their adrenal glands secrete small amounts of cortisol. This stimulation, combined with over-tiredness, makes your child much more likely to wake up during the night.

A night of poor sleep will typically compound the problem, making it harder for them to get a decent nap the following day, and the cycle just keeps repeating.

On the other hand, when your child gets a quality nap at their scheduled naptime, their brains produce melatonin, which helps them to get to sleep, and stay asleep, later on that evening.

Once your child gets into a proper sleeping “rhythm,” sleep will come much more naturally and easily.

They’ll take longer naps and have an easier time sleeping through the night. Count on it.

3. The 45-minute sleep cycle

People typically fall asleep and wake up numerous times during the night, usually without even realizing it.

This cycle between REM and non-REM sleep usually lasts between 70 and 120 minutes in adults, and around 45 to 50 minutes in infants.

If your child has learned how to fall asleep independently, they can go through this cycle numerous times a night without making a fuss.

Provided they’re comfortable and associate their surroundings with snoozing, they’ll typically head right back to sleep.

Again, this is one of the reasons why it’s so, so important for kids to learn to fall asleep on their own. Otherwise, this brief opening of the eyes will result in them looking for a bottle, a cuddle, or whatever it is you typically use to lull them off to sleep.

It can be an ordeal to get your child to fall asleep without some form of encouragement, I know, but stay strong. The nights of uninterrupted sleep that both you and your child will enjoy are well worth the effort. I guarantee it.

Also, if you’re looking for a complete, step-by-step guide that will help you get your child sleeping 11+ hours a night you can check out The Sleep Sense Program by clicking below.

Learn more here.

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The Sleep Sense Philosophy

Cry-it-out? Coddle? Co-sleep? Attachment parenting? Ferberizing?
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Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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