Short naps are so frustrating for parents. You finally get baby down to sleep only to have them wake 30 minutes later. It’s barely enough time to do something to take care of yourself or get anything on the to do list done. So why is baby taking short naps?
Short naps can be caused by many different things. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this could be happening.
First, let’s define a short nap. Anything less than 45 minutes is what we are considering a short nap here. These naps are only one sleep cycle or maybe not even a full sleep cycle.
Your baby may be having short naps due to –
Short naps / cat napping is perfectly normal from the ages of 3.5 month all the way up to 5 / 6 months of age. If your baby is at this age and stage, then you can set up the environment perfectly for nap times, but you may just need to ride that wave until they are developmentally ready to start linking sleep cycles.
Being under tired
If your child has not managed to build up enough sleep pressure from their last sleep / nap they will struggle to fall asleep on their next nap. Sometimes they may just be tired enough to fall a sleep but are not tired enough to stay asleep past the first sleep cycle. You may need to reassess your baby’s awake windows to be sure that they are sleeping right for their developmental stage.
When the body is overtired, we all produce stimulating hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones make it difficult for a baby to go to sleep and stay a sleep. To help with this be aware of how long your baby has been awake for and watch out for their early tired signs.
Their sleep environment.
Ensuring the environment is set up for good sleep. A room that is dark (dark enough so you cannot read a book), cool (16 – 20 degrees), and that is quiet. Once your baby gets over 3 months old, they are easily stimulated by their environment.
Ensure your baby sleeps when they aren’t hungry. If your baby feeds around every three hours, then you will need to take this into consideration if you would like your baby to sleep longer than just one sleep cycle.
Needing support to fall asleep.
The reasons your baby now needs your help to fall asleep is because at 4 / 5 months of age a baby’s sleep pattern matures. Often at this stage your baby will wake between sleep cycles and at this point will look for that adult sleep association to fall back to sleep.