Does this scenario sound familiar? You’ve finally gotten your baby down for bedtime and like clockwork, 30-60 minutes later, they are awake again and needing to be resettled!
So frustrating, right?!
This is called a false start and commonly occurs at bedtime.
There are three common causes to false starts at bedtime as well as simple solutions to put an end to them.
The first and most common cause of false starts is overtiredness. When a baby is overtired, they have an excess of cortisol which makes it difficult to calm their bodies and they are only able to sleep for one sleep cycle. An earlier bedtime is usually the simplest solution but you may also need to make other schedule adjustments to their naps and awake windows to prevent overtiredness from accumulating.
Body Clock Timing
The second cause is your baby’s body clock timing. You may be putting your baby to bed before their body is ready. For example, you put your little one to bed at 8pm but their body doesn’t think it is bedtime until 10pm so they treat bedtime like it is a nap and only sleep one sleep cycle. How do you know if your timing is off? The first stretch of sleep is typically the longest so take note of when that is for your child. If they sleep their longest stretch from 9pm-2am, then 9pm is their internal bedtime. This CAN be adjusted. Make small, incremental changes to bring their schedule and bedtime earlier. This may also mean waking them up in the morning to keep keep a “12 hours of day, 12 hours of night” schedule.
Independent Sleep Skills
The third reason is lack of independent sleep skills. If your baby relies on you (feeding, rocking, etc) to fall asleep for bedtime, they will require your assistance each time their sleep is interrupted. When they confidently know how to fall asleep on their own at bedtime, they can easily put themselves back to sleep at any point overnight.
If you are struggling with any aspect of your child’s sleep, we would love to help. Our passion is helping families gain the rest that they need so that you can ENJOY parenthood. You can schedule a call with us to chat about your specific sleep challenges and discuss how we can support you here: http://www.beewisesleepconsulting.com/schedule