Knowing your child’s optimum sleep windows can make a huge difference to how easily they settle to sleep and how long they stay asleep. What if all you needed to was to find those windows? How much smoother could naps and bedtime be for everyone?
So what is a sleep window exactly?
Depending on your baby or child’s age, there will be an average amount of time she can manage awake in any one stretch. For example, a 6 month old will manage around 1.5-2hrs awake before needing another sleep. When you attempt to put your baby down for a sleep too soon, she may protest as she is not ready yet. If you miss the window and try after the window closes, she will protest because she is now over-tired and the brain has released the hormone, cortisol to keep her awake!
If there is no sign of a nap coming, brights lights, noise, tv and lots of stimulation, the brain thinks we need to wake up and releases cortisol, which is like adrenaline. This is why your child may seem wide awake or wired when they are actually over-tired.
So how do we catch the sleep windows?
For many alert little ones, it can be hard to spot their sleepy cues as they are very good at hiding them. Knowing roughly when to expect them to be tired can make it easier to spot the optimum window but sometimes they still show no signs so you just have to go with the timing and try. With a bit of trial and error, you can soon work out when your baby’s optimum sleep windows are.
When you find the sleep windows it is like a surfer catching a wave- get it just right and you will ride it all the way to the shore.
How can you do this with your little one?
- Find out the average sleep amount needed for your child’s age (night and naps)
- Find out the average wakeful window for your child’s age
- Accommodate your child’s sleep schedule as best as you can so that he is not awake for too long in one stretch and is getting enough total sleep.
You will be amazed at the difference in your baby’s ability to settle more easily and sleep for longer when you find the right spot!
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