Do you find yourself waking up to your baby’s cries at 5am every morning? You are not alone.
Many parents struggle with early morning wake ups from their little ones. But what causes this and how can you help your baby sleep longer and wake up later in the morning?
This blog post will unlock the mystery of 5am wake ups and provide you with some solutions!
Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep Needs
Firstly, it is important to understand your baby’s sleep needs. Babies need a lot of sleep, especially in the first few months of life. Newborns can sleep up to 17 hours a day, while older babies need between 12 and 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.
But it is not just about the amount of sleep your baby gets. It is also about the quality of sleep.
Newborns only have 2 stages in their cycle. They are either in deep sleep, which is stage 3, or they are in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is stage 4, that’s when a lot of things are going on in their little brains, and both are very important.
Deep sleep is restorative, builds immune system while REM sleep is great for memory, neural connections and stimulating the senses.
Around the third to fourth month, your baby will start cycling through all 4 stages of sleep, instead of just 2. Now they bring in stage 1 and stage 2 along with deep sleep and REM sleep.
Possible Reasons for Early Morning Wake Ups
There are many reasons why your baby might be waking up at 5am. Here are some of the most common ones:
Too much daytime sleep: If your baby is sleeping too many hours during the day, they might not be tired enough to sleep through the night.
Chronic overtiredness due to a sleep debt: If your baby does not get enough sleep during the day or at night, they can become overtired. When they become overtired, their body produces more cortisol, which can make it harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. Over time, this can lead to a chronic sleep debt that causes them to wake up earlier than they should in the morning.
Hunger: If your baby hasn’t eaten enough during the day or has a growth spurt, they might wake up early due to hunger.
Wet diaper: When a baby’s diaper is wet, they might feel uncomfortable or even experience skin irritation, which can cause them to wake up early and make it difficult for them to fall back asleep.
Too cold: The outside temperature drops before sunrise, so if the room is too cold, it can cause them to wake up between 4-5am.
Too bright: Any daylight coming into their room can cause your baby’s body to say, “time to get up” and be a reason that your baby is waking up early.
Solutions to Help Your Baby Sleep Longer in the Morning
So, how can you help your baby sleep longer in the morning? Here are some solutions:
Adjust bedtime: If your baby is going to bed too early, they will wake up early after clocking the number of hours of sleep that they need. If your baby is going to bed too late, they might be overtired, which can impact their sleep.
Change diaper before bed: If your baby is waking up because of a wet diaper, try changing their diaper right before you put them to bed. This can help them stay comfortable throughout the night.
Create a consistent bedtime routine: Have a predictable, consistent bedtime routine will help your baby settle to sleep quicker, and sleep for longer. This repetitive set of activities signal your child that it is time for sleep and help them to prepare for sleep and wind down.
Practice cot time: Cot time is a technique that can be used to help train your baby to sleep longer in the morning. Cot time involves leaving your baby in their cot for a set period of time in the morning, especially when they wake up earlier than desired. The goal of cot time is to teach your baby that it is not yet time to start the day and to encourage them to fall back asleep on their own. Over time, with consistent practice, cot time can help your baby learn to self-soothe and become a more independent sleeper.
It is important to note that every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Be patient and keep trying different strategies until you find what works best for your family. With a little patience and consistency, you can help your baby sleep longer in the morning and get the rest they and yourself need.
Hope these help you and your baby get better sleep at night! Need more help with your family’s sleep? Book your FREE 20-minute evaluation call today.