Early Rising and Naps: Wake Time is Ruining Our Nap Schedule

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  • December 12, 2018
early rising and naps

early rising and naps

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

Hi! Kim West, The Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Anne’s question that she wrote in.

She said, “I’ve been trying to get my 5 month old on a good nap schedule but it’s so hard as he wakes up at different times each day. If he wakes up at 5:30 a.m., he can’t stay up until 9:00. And if I put him down for a nap at 7:30, then he isn’t ready to nap again until 11:00 or 12:00 depending on how long he slept. But if he gets up at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., he can stay up until 9:00 and I can usually have him nap at 9:00 and 1:00. I’m no sure how to overcome these different morning wakeups. Please help.”

Thanks for sharing all that information. That was actually very helpful for me.

Not Ready for Strict Sleep Training

The important thing for you to know at 5 months of age, I don’t recommend strict sleep coaching, not quite yet and especially not with nap coaching. But it is important for you to know that I think that your baby needs at least 3 naps a day and sometimes 4 while you are working on the early rising, especially if he is only taking 45-minute naps.

You didn’t say what you do when he wakes up at 5:30 in the morning, but hopefully, you’re not getting him out of the bed yet and starting the day. I also don’t know what is happening at night, if you’re feeding him during the night or at 5:30am.

Early Rising

But let’s say he is sleeping through to 5:30am and when he wakes he is not hungry yet. I would try to do what I can to get him back to sleep, patting, shushing, calming, etc. and try until at least 6:00am. And then, of course, at 6:00, if there is no sign of him going back to sleep, I’d leave the room, come back in, do “dramatic wakeup” and start the day.

My first rule would be no napping before 8:00 a.m. Just so that we don’t ingrain the early rising. I know that this is hard because it’s a tricky dance and he gets a little overtired but I want you to try to make it until 8:00 a.m.

You might want to check out my article on the 4 causes of early rising.

A Flexible Nap Schedule

And then from there, you’re going to end up needing 3 naps, especially if, let’s say, he sleeps from 8:00 am to 9:00 am he is going to need his next nap between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. He will definitely need a third nap to make it to bedtime and that’s okay. That’s very common. Babies often keep 3 naps until 9 months of age so, not to worry.

Again, 3 or 4 naps a day is okay while we’re working on early rising and making it to a 7:00 pm bedtime without being overtired.

Once your son starts to go back to sleep at 5:30am, I would make sure you wake him up by 7:30 in the morning. That might be hard to imagine but we do want to regulate that wakeup somewhere between 6:00 and 7:30 in the morning. That will help you regulate his nap times so that he is well rested by the time he reaches bedtime at 7:00pm.

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

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5 Comments

  • lmarcus says:

    My 5 month old is having the exact same issues and at my wits end, I slept in the attic last night and let my husband do the “overnight.” Kim helped with my 1st child, so I am 100% sure she can help us with our 5 month old, too! Hang in there–we will get through this!

  • lmarcus says:

    PS Kim why dont you recommend sleep coaching yet and remind me when we should start? My 5 month old just went through 4 nights of waking 4+ times and we are sorta losing it…we think she unlearned how to put herself to sleep as she isnt hungry, cold, no new developmental milestones, teething or sick, and goes to bed at 6:30ish.

  • sjphill says:

    My 16 month old was finally sleeping through the night from 7:30pm-7:30am after months of sleep training, so I know she has it within her to get herself back to sleep. But for the past month, she still goes to bed at 7:30pm, but she’s waking up 2-3 times a night and will not go back to sleep unless I get up and put her back down. It seems as if she has become reliant on me giving her a quick pat on the back and a “shhh” every couple hours. On top of that, she’s now getting up for the day between 5-5:30am on most mornings and will not go back to sleep no matter what. She doesn’t have a consistent nap schedule because 4 days a week she’s at day care half a day and naps for 1-2 hours in the afternoon, and 3 days a week she’s at home. I’ve tried to mimic her day care nap schedule, but on the days she wakes up at 5am she can’t stay awake without the stimulation of day care (other kids to play with, play grounds, etc) and ends up taking an early nap for an hour. If I’m really lucky on those days, she will take another nap in the afternoon, although that is usually a struggle, so she is overtired and ready for bed by 5:30pm and I have to keep her awake for at least another 1 1/2 hours. How can I get her to start sleeping through the night again without wake ups every 3-4 hours? What can I do to end early morning wake ups? Also, how can I help regulate her naps on the days she is not at day care so that we are more consistent?

  • kazdoshi says:

    My 14 month old wakes up at 5am.  He has always had this early wake up time. I have tried changing his bedtime but still he wakes at 5am (5:30am on a late day).  He wakes up and wants milk there is nothing I can do to calm him down to go back to sleep unless I give him milk.  Do you have any suggestions to get him to wake up a little later.  His bedtime is usually 7pm and he still takes two naps a day.
     
    Thank you.
     
    Kathleen
    New York, NY 

  • Kaechevier says:

    My 8 month old is sleeping beautifully thanks to your program except that very night at exactly a half hour after going to bed, she wakes up and cries for at least 20 mins. She goes to be at 7:30 but even trying different bed times she’s waking up. She sleeps through the night (11 hours) and takes 2 one and half to two hour naps during the day. We followed your plan and it has worked for us. She is sleeping finally. We thought she was teething but it’s been since she was 4 or 5 months old she’s been doing this no matter what we do. Is this something she will grow out of or has it become a habit? If its a habit how do we break it?