When your baby is having trouble sleeping well at night, you may wonder why is this happening?
And as usual, in order to rectify the problem, you may need to find the cause of it first. So, today I want to bring to your attention the 3 biggest bedtime mistakes that usually are responsible for the disrupted sleep of your little prince.
Bedtime routine plays a big role when it comes to your child’s sleep. It’s not only the time of preparing your little one to bed, but it’s the time when you can connect with him, and have a peaceful moment by reading a bedtime story or singing a song together.
You are probably questioning yourself now, what could go wrong during this quality time with my little one?
Here is my answer to you:
1. Late Bedtime
If the baby keeps waking up during the night or early morning, the first thing to look at is the time of bedtime.
The studies have shown that an infant’s body clock is set to a bedtime between 6:30 p.m. and 8 pm. So, I suggest you follow your child’s body clock than trying to fight against that.
You need to know that sleeping out of phase with biological rhythms produces an overtired and hyperaroused child who has difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
Parents usually believe that the right time to put the kid to bed is when he seems really tired, grumpy, or fussy.
If you see your child getting fussy, cranky, irritated, or hyperactive in the evening, that means you just skipped the best bedtime timing. To say it in other words, you have an overtired – adrenaline-fuelled – baby!
Overtiredness has different symptoms in kids than adults. Overtired children tend to be so active. They may race around, cry for a second, then laugh hysterically the next.
Overtired babies tend to tug at their ears, turn the face away from stimulation, arch and stiffen the body, rub eyes and hair, avoid eye contact, become fussy and cranky.
It’s not like us, adults. We seem lazy, slow, and exhausted once we get exhausted
Please know that overtired kids fight sleep, wake frequently, and even start the day too early.
An overtired brain has a harder time transitioning from one sleep cycle to another. Once early morning approaches, kids experience light stages of sleep. So, to transition from one light stage of sleep to another is really difficult when the child is overtired. Instead of making this transition, the tired brain is in overdrive and just wakes up.
This is why infants who go to bed early, tend to sleep for longer stretches during the night and sleep through the night faster than the infants with later bedtimes.
2. Sleep Associations
A sleep association is something that your baby thinks he needs in order to fall asleep. Whether it is a bottle, breastfeeding, a pacifier, rocking, swinging, carrying, or singing, they all have the same function – to assist the baby to fall asleep.
And this assistance usually takes place somewhere during the bedtime routine…
So, let’s say, the baby gets fed and falls asleep while doing so.
What happens next? He is placed in his crib while being asleep. Parents feel happy that finally, they can have some time for themselves.
But unfortunately, just an hour or a few hours away from the baby wakes up again… He can’t remember entering his crib. Usually, he doesn’t even know what the crib is.
All he can remember is being on mom’s breast drinking milk. So, he is definitely going to cry because he wants to go back to the place he knows and remembers – mom’s breast.
So, mom’s breast can indeed play a double function: feeding and assisting to sleep.
If the baby was fed to sleep, he needs the feed in order to fall asleep again because he doesn’t know how to do it on his own.
Unfortunately, very often this feed functions as “assistance” rather than “elimination of hunger”. And this is why babies continue to have multiple night wakings.
Have you heard a mom saying “my baby hates his crib”?
Think again, why…
Sleep associations are great if the baby is under three-months-old. But if this “assistance” continues above that age, it complicates the infant’s sleep by causing unnecessary multiple wakings.
So, if you discovered that your little one is falling asleep with “external help”, and he is three- months- old or above, all you need to do is teach him to fall asleep on his own.
Once he learns to fall asleep on his own, he can go back to sleep on his own when he wakes up. That’s how babies sleep through the night.
3. Screen Time and Light
Screen time before bed and too much light in the room can be also responsible for disrupting the child’s sleep. Kids who spend time in front of the screen right before bedtime, take longer to fall asleep.
Also, the light kept on during the night in the child’s room will affect his sleep.
And not only that, if the child’s room is not completely dark during the bedtime, nigh-time and early morning hours, the production of sleep hormone- melatonin will be suppressed.
Melatonin helps us to fall asleep easier and faster and makes it easier for us to remain asleep.
So, if there is too much light in the room, the melatonin can be suppressed so much that falling asleep and staying asleep especially during early morning hours becomes challenging.
My suggestion to you is that at least an hour before your child’s bedtime you turn off any unnecessary lighting in your house. Also, make sure you have blackout blinds in your little one’s room, which will assist and make sure the production of melatonin.
I hope my three tips will help you answer many questions and will improve your child’s sleep.
Still have questions? King of Sleep is here for you!
If your little one is not sleeping through the night or you feel that you need additional help, you can always book 15 MIN FREE PHONE CONSULTATION with me. I would love to help you. I am using gentle sleep solutions which have already helped 55 000 parents like you!