Parent Sense
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Awake Times: The Secret to Settled Day Sleep

The Awake Times theory is one of the cornerstones of the Baby Sense book and from the outset was one of the unique aspects of the Baby Sense Way.

Why does it work?

We all have optimal times that we can be awake before becoming drowsy and falling asleep with ease. These are called our circadian rhythms. As an adult, your time is 6 hours and thereafter you would happily grab a siesta if you had the time and space to do so. Babies and toddlers have narrow awake times and these periods lengthen with age. If a baby is not settled to sleep within the window period, she will become overtired. An overtired baby is more likely to fight sleep and to become dependent on strategies to facilitate sleep, such as rocking or feeding to sleep.

In a nutshell:

  • Awake times are the length of time between periods of sleep – the optimal time your baby can manage to be awake before needing a sleep.
  • To measure your baby’s Awake Time, take note of the time she wakes from her sleep and settle her to sleep at the age-appropriate time

⭕ Make sure that your baby or toddler is having the appropriate awake time for his/her age:

➡ 0-6 weeks = 45 min

➡6-17 weeks = 45 – 90 min

➡4-7 months = 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours

➡7-12 months = 2-3 hours

➡14 months + = 1 day sleep

⭕ 15 minutes before her awake time is up, take your baby/toddler to the sleep zone and settle to drowsy before putting her down.

⭕ At certain cusp ages, you will find your child starts to fight day sleeps or fights going down at night or wakes very early in the morning. This usually indicates its time to drop a day sleep. These ages are as follows:

➡9 months = 3 to 2 sleeps

➡2-14 months = 2 to one sleep.

⭕ Toddlers drop their day sleep at different times – keep a set day sleep/rest time until 5 years old, even if your preschooler does not actually sleep.

⭕ Although we hardly ever wake a sleeping child, if your baby/toddler is sleeping too close to bedtime, you need to wake her:

➡6-17 weeks = 5pm

➡4-7 months = 4:30pm

➡7-12 months = 3pm

➡14 months + = 2pm