When and How To Work on Daytime Sleep
Daytime sleep is often the last piece that slots into place in the sleep jigsaw and can cause parents lots of stress and anxiety. So many of my clients approach me for help with getting easier and better sleep for the little one during the day, and it’s something that I help people with all the time.
Work on Night Time Sleep First
If you have a little one who has challenges at bedtime/overnight and during the day, I would usually advise you to work on the nights first. It can be overwhelming for you and your baby to work on both nighttime and daytime sleep simultaneously, so working on nights first helps to take the pressure off a bit. Also, you have sleep science on your side in the evening and overnight, so often, working on sleep at this time is easier at first. Regularly I see that once the nights have improved, naps then slot in to place too, but if not, there are many things that can help your baby nap better during the day.
How Do I Improve Naps?
Timing Is Everything!
It’s essential that you’re trying to get your baby to sleep at the right time for them during the day. Keep an eye out for your baby’s sleep cues (eye rubbing, ear pulling, yawning, for example) and then work out how long your baby has been awake. For their next nap, try popping them down 15 minutes before you would expect to see these tired cues – you may well find the sweet spot where they are just the right side of tired, and naps will become much easier!
Check The Environment
Make sure the environment that your baby is sleeping in is conducive to them getting good, restful sleep. Check the temperature of the room and make sure that it’s not too bright. Also, think about how noisy the room is and play white noise for the duration of the nap to prevent them from being woken by a delivery or the bin lorry!
Remember that according to Safer Sleep guidelines, if your baby is under six months of age, they should always sleep in a Moses basket/cot in the same room as you, even for daytime sleep,
Create a Pre-nap Routine
Most people have a bedtime routine for their baby, which is an excellent way of relaxing your little one and signalling to them that it’s time for sleep. A pre-nap routine can also work well to let your baby know that it’s time for sleep during the day. It doesn’t need to be anything long or too elaborate, but if you follow the same steps before each nap, it will help your little one to understand when it is time for sleep.
Most importantly, remember that good daytime sleep is often harder to achieve than nighttime, so don’t worry if some days it feels easy and other days it’s much more difficult. Don’t be too hard on yourself if one day it all goes wrong and you feel you’re getting nowhere. Tomorrow is another day!
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Caro is a Senior Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant® based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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