Beyond independent sleep and schedule, I receive the most questions about early wake-ups.
Why are they happening? How do I fix them? I am putting my baby to bed later and he/she is still waking up early. Please help!
Unfortunately, when you have kids, gone are the days of sleeping in until 10am. Wait, you didn’t sleep in until 10am before kids? Just me? Well, you were missing out!
A child’s natural wake-up time is between 6 and 8am. Anything earlier than that is considered an early wake-up.
The tricky part about early wake-ups is there is not just one thing that causes them to happen, it is often a series of things or multiple things. Often it is a process of elimination to rule out all the potential issues that are NOT impacting it to find the one challenge that is.
But let me explain why early wake-ups are so hard to prevent.
You have often heard me say, start sleep training at night and go into naps the next day as the drive to sleep at night is much higher than it is during the day.
It is because we have built up sleep pressure. We feel it as adults and children feel it as well - the need to go to sleep RIGHT. NOW.
This is why it is the easiest to fall asleep at night, all the sleep pressure from the day has built up. (If your child is not falling asleep unassisted or on a good schedule, the opposite may be true.)
In the morning, your little one has had all night to rejuvenate his/her body and get the restorative rest he/she needs. At the same time our melatonin levels start to decrease and the morning light can begin to shine in.
The combination of all three of these things can create a lower sleep drive. This transition to lower sleep pressure happens between 4am to 6am – the most common time frame for your little one’s early wake-up.
Often, an infants sleep is too immature to fighting against the urge to wake so early in the morning. And depending on the age of your little one, they could be waking because it is time to feed.
Since morning light can be one of the factors for early morning wake-ups one of the best things to do is to make sure the room your little one sleeps in is dark. We want it to be so dark that you can’t see your hand if you were to wave it in front of your face.
Having your little one on a good schedule and falling asleep independently can seem like the biggest hurdles to get over in your little one’s sleep. But early wake-ups can be just as challenging and sometimes more frustrating.
Moore Sleep Soon!
Be sure to check out my Early Wake-Up Guide launching this Friday June 16th, it will cover everything you need to know about why your little one may be waking early, how to adjust and how to make sure you are nailing the first nap!
If your little one is not on a good schedule, it is never too late to start. I have developed guides and courses to help build a strong sleep schedule.
If you are still struggling to get your little one to fall asleep unassisted, my sleep training guide was developed to help babies over 16-weeks adjusted age learn to fall asleep independently using both direct and gentle methods. It can be found here.
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