Have you ever wondered why your child wakes up at night no matter what you do? I’m sure you did! The answer? Your baby is probably overtired. And why if she is so exhausted she actually doesn’t sleep? Here the 5 most common reasons why your child wakes up at night:
1. Too late of a bedtime
Children need an average of 10-11 hours at night. The most common wake up window in the morning is between 6am and 7:30am. Before 6am, it’s still considered night time and not acceptable for your child to get up. After 7:30 am the sleep is not deep and restorative as it is in the early hours of the night. On the other hand, the most physiological bedtime window for children is between 6pm and 8pm. This is the time when they are more likely to fall asleep and when we actually can minimize the tears and the resistances. Don’t be afraid to put your child down too early at bedtime!
2. Missed/short napping
In the past (maybe we still) we used to say: “get that baby tired and she’ll sleep through the night! “. Everybody used to believe that the less sleep during the day, the longer stretches at night. Studies actually have shown exactly the opposite and that an overtired baby doesn’t sleep well as a rested one. Incredible but true. Sleep begets sleep. Make sure your child gets the daytime sleep she needs and make it your priority. You’ll be blown away by the results!
3. Your child has been put down already asleep
Sometimes we try our best in order to get our children to sleep faster and we create (without even realize it) what are called “sleep associations” and if not addressed early on they might be spread throughout the entire toddlerhood or even later. If you usually rock, nurse/bottle feed, walk your child to sleep, she actually didn’t have the time and space to master her selfsoothing skills. Partial arousals in the middle of the night are very common and if she actually doesn’t know how to fall back asleep she’ll look for an external support. Place your baby in her crib/bed when she is not completely asleep. This little trick might do the world of the difference.
4. Missed parents’ consistency
Responding to your child wakings at night without consistency, giving every time a different response, will create more crying and your child will be confused without knowing what to expect each time she wakes up. Also the consistency in the sleep environment is essential. When partial arousals occur during the night and the environment has changed at some point (if for example you nursed/rocked her to sleep and then placed her in the crib asleep) your child will have difﬁculty to resettle when she wakes up and she’ll need you to recreate the same conditions present when she fell asleep.
5. Underlying medical condition
Conditions such as asthma, allergies, reﬂux and sleep apnea might play an important role on your child’s capacity of self-sooth and going back to sleep can be challenging for her. Making sure your child is healthy is crucial before embarking in any sleep coaching program.
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