Is your baby an early riser? Some infants and toddlers routinely wake in the wee hours of the night (in the four and five o’clock hour…) and are up for the day! Sleep is in the lightest stage during these hours, which is why some babies have a more difficult time staying asleep when they wake between sleep cycles early in the morning. Consider 6:00am (and ideally 6:30am) as the earliest “okay to wake” time. There are many factors to consider when addressing this concern, so here is a look at some early rising myths and tips to get you started:
Myth: My baby naturally wakes up very early, so this must be what is “normal” for him/her.
Tip: Although there are some babies who might naturally wake on the earlier side, generally speaking, babies who have learned independent sleep habits and have age appropriate bedtimes/naptimes throughout the day will likely not wake very early in the morning. Make sure your baby or toddler has a bedtime that is appropriate for his her age (typically in the 6:30pm-7:30pm range) and that naps are offered at the same time each day. Sometimes tweaking daytime schedules will help with early rising, too!
Myth: If I give my baby a late bedtime, he or she will sleep in later in the morning.
Tip: There are some exceptions to this, however, most often- sleep begets sleep! One reason babies wake early is because they are overtired and not getting enough sleep. Though it may seem to be the opposite of what we would instinctually think to be true, typically, offering an earlier bedtime will result in a later wake up time. *Keep in mind, however, that a “full night of sleep” is considered 10.5- 12 (and sometimes even 13) hours. So, if you are putting your baby to sleep at 6:00pm and he/she is waking at 5 for the day… that is a full 11 hours of sleep and an adequate amount of night sleep for most little ones.**
Myth: My baby wants to get out of the crib and is ready to start the day at 4:30 am!
Tip: If your baby is frequently waking before 6:00am, (ideally 6:30 am) treat this as you would any middle of the night wake up. Use whatever sleep training method or strategy you have used for bedtime and other middle of the night wake ups. If you take your baby out of the crib at 4:30…5:00…5:30 am…ready to start the day, he or she will learn that this is wake up time, and his or her body will get used to this, too! With consistency, his or her body should adjust 🙂
Myth: There is nothing I can do for my toddlers (or older child) early rising, especially if he/she is no longer in a crib and can get out of bed!
Tip: Okay to Wake clocks are a great solution for toddlers who have become (or been) early risers. Check out “okay to wake clocks” on amazon… There are a variety of options available and many parents have had great success with the clocks when used consistently and the child is old enough (usually around age 2) to understand the concept.
If early wakings or any other sleep troubles are a problem in your household, contact me to set up a 15 minute consultation so that I can learn more about what is going on with your little one and explain how I can help! Call or text me at (301)580.4856 or email me at [email protected]