Baby Sleep Problem: My One Year Old Is Awake for Hours at Night!

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  • July 24, 2012

 

Would you like to have me answer your sleep question in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

 

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep problem video:

Hi. Kim West the Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Michelle’s question. She wrote in and said:

“My daughter is almost a year old. And for the past couple of months, wakes up during the night around 3:00am and is wide awake. It can take up to two hours to get her to sleep again. We tried letting her cried out with intervals to no avail. I’ve tried nursing and co-sleeping, and it doesn’t work on these nights.

She seems wide awake, but doesn’t want to play, doesn’t ask to be nourished, doesn’t really engage us, just super awake, doesn’t seem like it’s teething either. So, we’re just lost. She does go consistently down at 6:30, has a bath, a book routine and sleeps until 5:30am. If she doesn’t have that two hour waking during the night. (Sleep Lady note: which by the way, is still early rising in my book and too early to start the day, 5:30am. And so, we’ll have to do some shifting there too).

If she is co-sleeping with me, sometimes she’ll sleep until 7:30. So, it feels like our nights are all over the place and fairly unpredictable. I just don’t know what to do with that two hour wake up and how to get her the sleeps she actually needs. If I leave the room, she screams and cries, but nothing seems to help, expect holding her or padding her until she eventually tires again.

She is still having two naps a day, usually an hour between 9:00 and 10:00am and half an hour around 2:00pm. Help!”

Michelle, you gave me a lot of great information. One of the most powerful pieces of information was in the last sentence when you told me she only gets half an hour nap at 2:00.

 

Know Your Child’s Sleep Needs

 

baby sleep problemsA one-year-old needs 11 1/4 hours of sleep at night, uninterrupted, usually if they’re growing well and healthy, and two and a half hours during the day for their naps. So, if she has an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon, she’s way under. If she goes right to sleep at 6:30pm and sleeps until 5:30am, that’s 11 hours, not too bad. More than likely her early rising and the waking at night is, believe it or not, due to the fact that she is nap deprived!

You will need to work on lengthening her afternoon nap. And then making sure that she goes into bed awake at bed time– you didn’t mention that. And I also would be really strict about 5:30am and not get her out of her crib until 6:00am or later.

So that means if you go in to her room when she wakes you would either stay and reassure her or do timed checks until 6:00am. Pick the method you can follow through with. I don’t want you to start the day until 6:00am. 5:30am become’s 5:15am, become’s 5:00am, become’s 4:30am really quickly!

 

Could This Be a Sleep Regression?

 

Now, just a couple of other little tidbits of advice. You wrote that you put her down awake at bedtime and at naps but you don’t know “what is going on here”. I find that this “wake up in the middle of the night and they’re happy-go-lucky” issue can often be caused by nap deprivation which we know is an issue. But the other culprit can be developmental milestones. And the big sleep wrecker I find is walking, which commonly happens at 12 to 15 months old. (Some times super alert kids walk early.)

So that could be happening also, not that you should do anything differently, but just know that a milestone like learning to walk can disrupt sleep. If you stay on course, you should get her sleeping through the night and taking good naps. I hope that was helpful.

Sweet dreams,

Kim
The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have successfully conquered nap coaching and early rising, please encourage Michelle to keep up the good work she has started! Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

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6 Comments

  • moritzsh says:

    Hi Kim, I saw you present in Baltimore when my son, who is now almost 3 years old, was about 6 months old.  It seems from day one, he had sleep issues.  Recently, he went through about 6 months of great sleep patterns until his sister was born last year.  Since then there has been lots of change there have been some change in his sleep patterns as well.  He refuses to allow us to leave his room at night until he falls asleep.  If we try to leave before he wakes, he will scream “Mommy, Daddy”…etc until he wakes my 1 year old next door.  If we are lucky to escape after he sleeps, he will wake again at 1, 2 or 3 a.m. only to scream again and wake the entire household.  So we are a pawn to protect our daughter’s sleep patterns.  He has one nap at daycare from 12:45 p.m. till 2:45 p.m. and we put him down at night after his routine at 7:30 p.m.  He will spend hours with his eyes open making sure that we are still seated by him…. we are beyond frustrated. 
     
    Then there is my one year old who would love to continue to nurse round the clock….still.  We recently returned from a trip to Mexico where she woke nearly every hour or two.  The only way to keep my son asleep was to succumb to her nursing needs and so now we are in a whole new pattern of sleep trouble with her.  She has 2 naps at approximately 1.5 hours each and most times less.  She routinely wakes at 3:30 a.m. and stays awake until 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. 
     
    We are truly at our wit’s end.  This has literally been going on for years…. we let them cry it out, we go in and out in patterns, we sit with them….we’ve tried it all.  Help! 

    • StephanieSuastez says:

       @moritzsh ,
      My 3 year old son reacted similarly when my baby was born.  My older son was not yet 3 when my baby came along.  Both before and after the baby’s birth, the older one started being scared at night and crying when we left the room.  Then if he woke up at night he would cry and act very panicked.  We were also so frustrated because he had been sleeping reliably well for 2 years!
      I perused Kim’s book for the answer and decided to try a sleep manners sticker chart for my son.  I was skeptical that he would be motivated by stickers at night when he was convincing himself that he was scared of monsters, but it was worth a try.  I made a chart and explained to him how it would work.  At his request, I also decided I would leave the door open about an inch (our bedrooms are right off our great room, so we had always closed his door).
      The first night, he went to bed without crying, went right to sleep, and did not cry in the night, and continued to do this through the week on the sticker chart, and after.  I’ve had to make a couple more sticker charts since then, but usually he sleeps well.  I hope this helps!!!

  • moritzsh says:

    Hi Kim, I saw you present in Baltimore when my son, who is now almost 3 years old, was about 6 months old.  It seems from day one, he had sleep issues.  Recently, he went through about 6 months of great sleep patterns until his sister was born last year.  Since then there has been lots of change there have been some change in his sleep patterns as well.  He refuses to allow us to leave his room at night until he falls asleep.  If we try to leave before he wakes, he will scream “Mommy, Daddy”…etc until he wakes my 1 year old next door.  If we are lucky to escape after he sleeps, he will wake again at 1, 2 or 3 a.m. only to scream again and wake the entire household.  So we are a pawn to protect our daughter’s sleep patterns.  He has one nap at daycare from 12:45 p.m. till 2:45 p.m. and we put him down at night after his routine at 7:30 p.m.  He will spend hours with his eyes open making sure that we are still seated by him…. we are beyond frustrated. 
     
    Then there is my one year old who would love to continue to nurse round the clock….still.  We recently returned from a trip to Mexico where she woke nearly every hour or two.  The only way to keep my son asleep was to succumb to her nursing needs and so now we are in a whole new pattern of sleep trouble with her.  She has 2 naps at approximately 1.5 hours each and most times less.  She routinely wakes at 3:30 a.m. and stays awake until 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. 
     
    We are truly at our wit’s end.  This has literally been going on for years…. we let them cry it out, we go in and out in patterns, we sit with them….we’ve tried it all.  Help! 

    • StephanieSuastez says:

       @moritzsh ,
      My 3 year old son reacted similarly when my baby was born.  My older son was not yet 3 when my baby came along.  Both before and after the baby’s birth, the older one started being scared at night and crying when we left the room.  Then if he woke up at night he would cry and act very panicked.  We were also so frustrated because he had been sleeping reliably well for 2 years!
      I perused Kim’s book for the answer and decided to try a sleep manners sticker chart for my son.  I was skeptical that he would be motivated by stickers at night when he was convincing himself that he was scared of monsters, but it was worth a try.  I made a chart and explained to him how it would work.  At his request, I also decided I would leave the door open about an inch (our bedrooms are right off our great room, so we had always closed his door).
      The first night, he went to bed without crying, went right to sleep, and did not cry in the night, and continued to do this through the week on the sticker chart, and after.  I’ve had to make a couple more sticker charts since then, but usually he sleeps well.  I hope this helps!!!

  • j3ssbus says:

     
    My daughter is 15 months old and was born premature at 31 weeks. We have had problems getting her to sleep through the night since she was born. She still wakes up several times during the night. When she wakes up crying I give her a bottle and once she is done I lay her back in her crib to fall asleep. I first put her down at 7:30 pm, this is after her set bedtime routine of bath, bottle and brush teethe. Once alseep she will sleep until 12:30am which is followed by her waking up every 3 hours until she is up for the day at 6:30am. When she is home she takes a 2 hour nap around 9am and then a 45minute nap around 3pm. I am not sure what she does when she is in daycare. They have said she takes a long morning nap and sometimes takes an afternoon nap. She is a light sleeper and she shares a room with her 5 year old brother. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Please help!!

  • j3ssbus says:

     
    My daughter is 15 months old and was born premature at 31 weeks. We have had problems getting her to sleep through the night since she was born. She still wakes up several times during the night. When she wakes up crying I give her a bottle and once she is done I lay her back in her crib to fall asleep. I first put her down at 7:30 pm, this is after her set bedtime routine of bath, bottle and brush teethe. Once alseep she will sleep until 12:30am which is followed by her waking up every 3 hours until she is up for the day at 6:30am. When she is home she takes a 2 hour nap around 9am and then a 45minute nap around 3pm. I am not sure what she does when she is in daycare. They have said she takes a long morning nap and sometimes takes an afternoon nap. She is a light sleeper and she shares a room with her 5 year old brother. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Please help!!