“Sleep When the Baby Sleeps” Ok, cool. What if baby doesn’t sleep?
Written for Kids & Company by WeeSleep Consultants, Amber and Natalie
Are you that mama googling “How do I get my baby to stop fighting naps”? Ok, out of the 40,000 results, how many attempts did you make at improving naps before becoming overwhelmed? We are here to reduce that noise. There are many reasons that may be contributing to your little one refusing naps. Under tired, teething, hunger, another discomfort, overtired, etc. Today I am offering you some tips to improve your child’s nap(s).
If you understand how your body works and what sleep pressure is, you will understand why our bodies fight sleep or have difficulty staying asleep, so let’s start there! Circadian Rhythms are internally regulated sleep-wake cycles that occur throughout a 24-hour period. Although internal, they will adjust to external cues, like light! Blue light (tablet) has the greatest impact after white light (sun). Red light is the only one that appears to have no effect. Bright evening light in the last 1-2 hrs before bed will shift the time you feel tired and fall asleep. Morning light will tell your body to wake earlier! Our Circadian Rhythm also needs time to adjust (change does not happen overnight – typically). Homeostatic Sleep Drive (Sleep Pressure) builds in our body as our awake time increases. So, now that we know the basic physiology behind what drives us to the pillow, let’s get into our tips!
Often times we are gifted or purchase the latest infant gadgets unaware that these “sleep tools” may actually interfere with sleep! When we conduct a room assessment, we are looking for safe sleeping conditions as per AAP recommendations. We want to eliminate distractions, ensure a comfortable sleeping temperature and make it SUPER DARK.
Play with Sleep Pressure
Follow the appropriate awake times for your child. This changes dramatically as the circadian rhythm matures through infancy. Avoid being under tired. The awake times will help you build up that sleep pressure so the baby can fall asleep and STAY asleep. Avoid being overtired. When you are consistently overtired, the hormones in your body react as a result. This makes it much more difficult for your child to fall asleep. Even five to ten minutes past your child’s appropriate awake window may make nap time difficult.
Oftentimes, as life gets busy, routines are missed. What is important to note is children (especially toddlers) thrive off consistency! Routines are a great way to create expectations, so your child knows that after bath comes diaper, bottle, book, sleep sack then bed.
If you are struggling with day or nighttime sleep, reach out to a professional! We can create a custom sleep plan catered to your child’s needs and have your little one sleeping through the night in 10 days or less!
Truly yours, Your Certified WeeSleep Pediatric Sleep Consultants,