My One-Year-Old Only Sleeps 4 Hours In A Row

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  • April 27, 2016
Question of the week- My One-Year-Old Only Sleeps 4 Hours In A Row

Would you like me to answer your baby sleep coaching problem in my next video? If so, post your question on my Facebook Page! I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

Hi. I’m Kim West, The Sleep Lady, and today I’m going to answer Anna’s question:


“I have a one-year-old who has never slept through the night. She will only sleep up to four hours straight. Then she wakes every couple of hours and only settles when in bed with me. How do I get her to sleep through the night without waking?”


Sleep Needs For A One-Year-Old


The average one-year-old needs about 11 ¼ hours of sleep at night and about 2 1/2 hours of sleep in the day over the course of two naps. So if she only sleeps 4 hours, he may not be getting enough sleep.

First, we want to make sure that she’s getting closer to the average recommendation amount of sleep for her age.


Sleep Coaching BasicsQuestion of the week- My One-Year-Old Only Sleeps 4 Hours In A Row


  • Drowsy but awake.

Next, I want to ask: is she awake when you put her down at bedtime? If she’s not, then that’s where I would start. Do not let her get so drowsy that she nods off immediately when you put her in bed. Bedtime is the easiest time to learn how to put yourself to sleep.

  • Start on a Friday.

The most common day to start sleeping coaching is Friday night for obvious reasons (usually we have extra downtime to rest and recuperate on the weekend).

  • Start well-napped and well-fed.

On Friday make sure he’s well napped any way you can get it and well-fed.

  • Start at a reasonable bedtime.

Bedtime for her age is around 7:00 or 7:30 p.m., especially because she’s not sleeping through the night and she needs to catch up on her sleep.

  • Use a soothing bedtime routine.

Go through your typical soothing bedtime routine including a feeding (if that is still part of your routine) as well as books, kisses, and into the bed.


The Sleep Lady Shuffle


Decide if you are going to stay with her or not stay with her once you put her into bed awake. I’m biased of course. I think you have nothing to lose by starting off staying with her. You get to learn a lot about your child and you get to figure out if it’s the right sleep coaching match for her. You can offer physical and verbal reassurance. All the rules of The Sleep Lady Shuffle are outlined in my book, Good Night Sleep Tight.

You will fade out of the room (moving a few feet away) every few nights as she learns and incorporates the ability to put herself to sleep and back to sleep. You would want to do the same thing (stay nearby and slowly fade away) for all the night wakings. If you’ve been putting her in her crib for naps asleep, then you might have to do nap coaching, too.

This should help you get a good start. You might also want to check out this article that talks about the ten steps to take before starting sleep coaching. This will really set you up for success.
Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have experienced a similar situation, please share! Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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