I put my 11 month old to bed at 7 pm every day but can't get her to sleep past 5.30am.  She has one daytime nap of about two hours (1pm to 3pm) and a smaller one of about half and hour (9.30am to 10am). Should I be reducing her day sleeps? Should I be putting her to bed later? Help Nicole. Helen

The 5.30am wake up is more than just waking early – I consider this a night time waking.  There is a couple of reasons for this.  Sometimes it is too do with how your child falls asleep and is linked to their sleeping cues and at this hour of the morning they are mainly reliant on their cues to go back to sleep and tiredness is pretty much all but gone and thus this doesn’t help them to fall back to sleep.

Or, if this early waking is a new change, then it is likely to be with being too cold.  I would look at what she is wearing to bed and / or adjust the room temperature.

If however she is self settling and doesn’t rely on you to put her to sleep then it is the other reason which is really habitual.  Just bad habit.  As a result while she continues to wake and you continue to get her up to start the day then unfortunately this is likely to just go on and on and on.

She is losing the last hour and ½ of her night sleep – she should be going through to 7am and this is quite practical, needed and doable for her age.  According to research, and be forewarned this doesn’t make much sense if you look at numbers, losing this last 1 ½ hrs of her night time sleep is like losing 40% of her whole nights sleep.  That is, the affect it has on her ability to concentrate, behave, etc.  I said it didn’t make sense!  But by doing different tests on children this was the affect that losing this last 1 ½ hrs sleep had.  So I’m really encouraging you to solve this problem for her.

Putting her to bed later, seems logical however with babies and children this doesn’t help.  In fact, strangely enough it has the opposite affect it makes them shorten their whole nights sleep even more!!  The 7pm bedtime is quite okay, her day sleeps are perfect!  She will lose her morning sleep by about 18months of age and just be on the one big lunchtime sleep.

So all you need to concentrate on is the early morning wake up call.  At this point I would be setting say a 6.30am getting up time – so this means that before 6.30am she is in her cot and needs to wait until the getting up time.  She is likely to protest this for the first few days, as she doesn’t understand the game rules have just changed, she will be ok and soon will set her internal clock to a 6.30am wake up, you can then extend it 5 mins at a time to get closer to 7am.   She will thrive on the extra sleep.

Related Articles:

Midnight Playtime

Night Waking at 12 Months old 

Early Morning Wake-up

When can they Fall asleep by themselves


Nicole Pierotti

Written by Nicole Pierotti

© Copyright 2012. No reprinting or publishing without permission from writer. For permission or further information contact nicole@babysmiles.com.au.

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