Daytime napping – The mysteries solved

Daytime napping – The mysteries solved

As adults after a long day we normally crash to sleep with exhaustion but for a little person, it is quite the opposite. Having too little day time sleep can really unsettle your baby’s night time sleep. An over tired child is one of the worst types to manage. They can become stubborn, extremely emotional or hyper active. An overtired child can have wakeful nights and wake early in the morning. On the other side if your little one gets too much sleep in the day they won’t sleep as well at night!!


Getting the right amount of sleep for your little on in the day time can feel like a minefield, especially when they choose to cat nap and refuse more naps even though we know they need them!


There is a delicate balance with sleep, it is important to look at a 24 hour period and not just one individual nap, bedtime or evening. As with everything with little people, it changes so as your baby grows the awake times and nap lengths will change.


What is an awake time?

Simply awake times are the period from when your baby wakes until when they fall asleep. If this period is too small they will not have a long enough nap and this could affect the rest of your day. This can often happen if we are trying to avoid them being over tired. For a new born baby, you will find their awake time lasts an hour however by three months this has stretched to 2 hours awake times.


The next thing to consider is how much nap time your little one is getting. It is much healthier for your little one to get their longest nap around the middle of the day, but this can take time to establish as things shift so don’t put pressure on yourselves, but recognise that this is the goal that you want to achieve.



Catnapping is a common problem that parents find themselves coming up against. This is when we put them down for a sleep and within a very short period they are awake again. It can feel exhausting. Especially as they become over tired from not getting enough sleep. It is typical parents start to notice this around 4 months old. The key is to invest some times on napping and how and where they settle to sleep. You might find the catnapping happens on specific naps or all naps. The best advice is to start by tracking them first to see what patterns you recognise. Our sleep diaries are a great way to really look at what is happening for your littles ones sleep. They are available here.


I always discuss naps with clients because it is a great place to start when making any sleep changes. We are less likely to give into new routines in the day time than we are at night when we are exhausted and all we want to do is go back to sleep. If you want to find out more about how your little one sleeps, their developmental needs and tools to improve their sleep then check out our sleep space packages. A realistic, factual, developmental based programme to help you achieve your sleep goals. Healthier Sleep means happier families so invest in yours today.

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