It’s a common sleep challenge. The classic 40-minute nap.
Why is it always 40 minutes? Sleep science.
We all have sleep cycles. As adults, our sleep cycles are 90-120 minutes, but babies have much shorter sleep cycles, typically 40-60 minutes. At the end of a sleep cycle, we all come to a partial wakening. For most adults, we roll over, pull up the covers, or adjust our pillow and go back into our next sleep cycle. Babies often just wake up – EVEN if they still need more sleep.
So many babies are notorious for struggling to link sleep cycles. It’s more common in the day when the sleep pressure is lower than it is at night. Lengthening naps also come with age, so if you have a newborn, short cat naps are typical. Naps typically begin to extend between four and six months. What happens if they don’t and why don’t they? This week, I’ve answered Emma’s question about helping her 8-month-old lengthen her afternoon nap. She’s doing a lot of the right things, but a little tweaking may help. Watch below to find out what advice I’ve given her.
Mary Foster is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting and the popular Sleepy Lambs Sleep Academy. She had three little ones in 3 years (along with an international move at seven months pregnant with #3, which just means she’s a bit crazy and adventurous). Her little “lambs” keep her busy, with her oldest just turned 6, middle one almost 5 and the youngest is almost 3.
Mary is Canadian and is based in Hampshire, UK, near the Surrey and West Sussex border. She has supported hundreds of families in 11 countries. Mary’s unique approach is always holistic and focuses on emotional wellness, always respectful of parenting choices. Click here to send her an email.