If you are trying to get a better night’s sleep, it may come as a surprise to learn how vital a day sleep routine is. The fact is that ‘day sleep begets night sleep’, which literally means that a good day sleep routine will result in better night sleep. A baby who does not have a good day sleep routine may fight bedtime, wake more often at night, experience night terrors and be overstimulated and unplayable when they are awake.
Here are 5 top tips to prepare your baby for a better day sleep routine:
- Follow the Baby Sense guidelines for ‘Awake Times’ to gauge how long your baby can be happily awake before going back to sleep. Instead of a rigid routine, put your baby back to sleep during the day when his ‘Awake time’ is up and when he signals fatigue. Less than six months of age 3 – 4 sleeps are common. Between 6 and 12 months of age the number of day sleeps reduces to 2 – 3 sleeps and after 14 months most toddlers drop down to 1 day sleep.
- The midday sleep is the most important day sleep, so create a consistent sleep space for the midday sleep from a young age. Other day sleeps can be more flexible but the midday sleep should consistently be taken in the nursery.
- Darken the room with block out lining on the curtains or blinds and play white noise to keep your baby in a deeper sleep during his day sleeps.
- Young babies should be in bed by 6:30 or 7pm at the latest. By keeping your baby up, you will not shift the morning waking and are very likely to face bedtime battles as your overtired baby resists going down to sleep. Furthermore, bad habits like rocking to sleep or feeding to sleep may become entrenched as you have to resort to extensive calming measures at bedtime to settle an overtired baby.
- The only time when too much sleep during the day can have a negative effect on night sleep is when your baby sleeps too late in the day. Depending on your baby’s age (and related Awake Time), make sure your baby wakes from his last afternoon sleep with one awake time period left before his bedtime.
In summary, to be prepared-ish for a good day routine remember - day sleeps are vital for good night sleep habits; watch your baby’s awake times and develop a day sleep routine and of course do not make bedtime too late.