Our focus is usually on an overtired baby, especially one who has exceeded their awake time limitations. But, on occasions we see an under tired baby. A baby that hasn’t had enough wake time between their naps, and as a result hasn’t been able to accrue enough ‘sleep debt’ in order to easily push them towards falling asleep easier. You’re probably thinking to yourself right now ‘Holy moly - I just figured out when they’re overtired, now I have to look at if they’re under tired too? I wish I got a manual for this kid!!’ Let’s make this easier for you! ✖️Sleep debt is the amount of sleep that has been accrued over the day, resulting in the slow and steady build up, or ‘banked awake hours’ in order to prime and prepare a baby towards their sleep. Structured naps and day sleep reduces, or ‘withdraws’ small amounts of this debt appropriately which reduces the risk of your baby becoming overtired, and leaves them with enough sleep debt accrual right before bedtime - to allow for them to settle down easily. ✖️Sounds perfect right? Well, when the timing is perfect - so too is the settling. We have seen it on numerous occasions, without the need to sleep train or teach a baby to ‘self settle’. Yes, self settling can play a huge part, but timing is one huge contributing factor to settling and sleep success, especially in babies younger than 4 months who don’t have the ability to self settle yet. ✖️We hear so many parents stating that they have followed the ‘90 minute rule’, or an hour and a half of awake time in between naps. This is great for babies who need this awake time, but for a younger newborn baby it is far too much, and for an older baby - it isn’t enough! This is also a time where we can see parents reversing the ‘awake time’ rules and keeping their babies up for longer then required, resulting in an overtired baby. This creates similar symptoms - struggles with settling & sleep, and usually a lot of crying or tears! ✖️Finding the balance and understanding your baby’s age appropriate awake window limitations allows parents to settle their baby and achieve easier sleep! Being aware of these times only makes nap times easier to achieve, and assists with the balance between overtired and under tired babies. ✖️Along with your baby’s age appropriate awake times, you will become the master of reading your baby’s tired/sleepy signs and cues. If their awake time limit is close to over and their tired cues are present- it’s time to wind down and start settling. ✖️ Awake times are a guide, and some babies can handle 5-10 minutes more, some 5-10 minutes less! Remember, all of your feeds, activity, nappy changes and winding down is incorporated in your baby’s suggested awake time. It’s not about keeping them awake for that duration THEN cramming everything else into 5-10 minutes at the end!! ✖️Ensuring your baby has age appropriate awake windows, and that these are respected can ensure that your days run smoothly with successful naps, resulting in a much more settle night period, where sleep is much more restorative. Commonly at Limestone Coast Sleep School we see babies that are under tired exhibits the following symptoms: ▫️Frequently refusing or resisting a nap ▫️Cat napping, or sleeping for periods of only 30-45 minutes at each nap ▫️Frequently waking after they’ve been put down for sleep, or shortly after they have fallen asleep ▫️Frequent night wakings with extended wake times between each ▫️Need to be rocked/patted/shushed/sung or settled using a more ‘hands on’ technique ▫️Commonly has unsettled periods in the early evening, or ‘witching hour’ ▫️Fussy, frustrated or emotional tears from babies (and sometimes parents!) who aren’t actually ready for sleep So, how can we help? Take a look at your babies age appropriate awake lengths in order to understand their needs and limitations when it comes to managing activity. These begin at the smallest amount and increase to the larger amount week/month by month - increasing slowly each week. You’ll likely notice they can handle a little more time awake each week! ➖ Newborn - 3 weeks: 30-45 minutes ➖ 3-6 Weeks: 45-75 minutes ➖ 6-9 Weeks: 1.25-1.5 hours ➖ 9-12 Weeks: 1.5-1.75 hours ➖ 3-4 Months: 1.75-2 hours ➖ 5-6 Months: 1.75- 2.25 hours ➖ 7-8 Months: 2.25-3 hours ➖ 9-12 Months: 2.5-3 hours ➖ 12-18 Months: 2.5-3 hours ➖ 18-24 Months: 4-5.5 hours ➖ 2-3 Years: 5-5.5 hours

For more information on how you can perfect your timing, achieve easier settling and sleep or better understand why certain ages brings regressions - see out sleep guides!

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Copyright 2020 Limestone Coast Sleep School Pty Ltd. ABN 79638861193 | 48 ROGERS AVENUE, VIC, Australia, 3690

 | 0410 514 454 | contact@limestonecoastsleepschool.com


Baby Sleep Routines
Baby Sleep Routines