The secret to better sleepers

Did you know that if your child naps during the day they will sleep better at night?

It is very important young children nap during the day, your child is very busy exploring their world and learning new skills and naps will also help your child sleep better at night. If your young child doesn’t nap he or she may become overtired. Overtiredness can lead to night time wakenings. An overtired child can display signs of being hyper active due to the hormone Cortisol being released in the brain. This hormone fights sleep leading to the child only falling off to sleep when exhausted and also most likely awakening during the night. To avoid this from happening it is important to establish good napping habits. 
The following are some tips to help your child nap better;
  • Watch out of the sleepy signs - the most common signs are rubbing eyes, yawning, zoning out, arching back, sucking on fingers, difficulty focusing, fussiness and grizzling, if you spot some of these signs then you should start preparing your baby for sleep. 
  • Set start time to your day - It can sometimes be difficult to establish whether or not your baby is tired, therefore it is important to try and have nap times at the same time each day, this will then ensure you are never too far off the mark when it comes to naptime. Having a set awake time each day will ensure that your baby will get tired and hungry at approximately the same time every day.  
  • Older children need to know when nap time is too, if their nap is after something specific during the day such as lunch your child will be less likely to resist napping as they will know what is coming next. If your child doesn’t know when naptime is he/she may be planning to redecorate the walls if you then whip him off to bed he will naturally become very upset!
  • Go to sleep unaided – For a baby to nap well they need to be able to self settle. Self settling means you can place your baby into their cot or crib awake and they are able to get themselves off to sleep without needing any help from you.  (Please note, that this article does not encourage methods such as leaving a baby to cry out or leaving them for extended periods of time to settle. Always check on your baby frequently when they are settling to sleep.)
  • Nap in cot – Placing your baby in their cot for sleep will help him/her to associate the cot with sleep. 
  • Naptime routine – having a naptime routine will ensure your baby knows its bedtime. I recommend using the same routine as you use at night time. A good routine is to say goodnight to everyone, place your baby in the cot, show him/her pictures in a book, sing a short song and then give your baby a kiss goodnight.  In a little bit of time your baby will become familiar with the routine, know what is coming next and be more open to falling off to sleep.
How long should my baby nap?
The length and number of naps your baby requires will vary depending on your child’s age, the following is a general guide; 
Age                      Number of Naps           Total Napping Time           Awake Periods Between Naps
0-2 Months            3-4 Naps                       4-5 Hours                            Max 1.5 Hours
2-4 Months            3-4 Naps                       4-4.5 Hours                         Max 2 Hours
4-7 Months            3 Naps                          3.5-4 Hours                         Max 2.5 Hours
8-12 Months          2 Naps                          3 Hours                               Max 3 Hours
12-18 Months        1-2 Naps                       2.5-3 Hours                         Max 5 Hours
18-24 Months        1 Nap                            2-2.5 Hours                         Max 5 Hours
2-2.5 Years           1 Nap                            1.5-2 Hours                         Max 6 Hours
2.5-4                     Quiet-time -1 Nap          0.5-1 Hour     
Written by Edel from the Baby Sleep Academy.
Having sleepless nights? Our Sleep Expert from Baby Sleep Academy can help
Find out more from Edel here: babysleepacademy


{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us