Babies need naps!
It helps them reset from all the adventures happening during the day, almost like a time-out where their little brains get a chance to take all of that information and place it in their long term memory stores.
Having a consistent consolidated nap schedule will ensure your little one is happy, content and ready for new challenges coming their way! When your baby is taking naps longer than 50min-1 hour (1 sleep cycle) it shows that they have the ability to transition from the one sleep cycle to the next.
Struggling with 20-45 min naps can be quite common!
Short naps or “catnaps” are naps that are shorter than 1 hour. They can become a real problem for our little ones and here is why:
- It prevents them from going into those deep restorative sleep cycles. Which really helps them feel refreshed, and balances out their day.
- In turn, short naps prevent night wakings, which causes short naps.. you get a snowball effect which keeps rolling..
They can happen due to various reasons:
- sleep association dependency
- nap transitions or,
- sleep training related
None of the above? Some babies are just natural catnappers!
Let’s dig a little deeper into each:
Hormones & developmental reasons
The sleepy hormone Melatonin helps your little one fall asleep and stay asleep. At this age, this production should be fully developed.
Developmentally, babies only start to take longer naps at 5-6 months when they are ready for it, or if you have not been encouraging it. So your little one might be ready but you haven’t been giving them a chance! So if they are under 5 months, ITS NORMAL!
Tip: A dark room encourages melatonin production during the day. So make your room as dark as possible! (Read our darkness blog post here)
If your little one is used to falling asleep a certain way with a certain association, they would fully wake after one sleep cycle needing that association to fall asleep again. And because it’s daytime – its more difficult to sleep!
Tip: Remember to do your wind down before every nap to create those healthy sleep cues. Stay consistent and keep to your steps!
At certain cusp ages your little one is ready to drop a nap and a nap getting shorter can be a one of the signs. It’s usually the last nap of the day. But be on the lookout for other signs, as we do not want to drop the nap too soon:
- Longer awake times
- Protests naps and a lot more difficult toget to sleep
- Sometimes flat out refuses a nap
- Early morning wake ups
For our 5-6 months old a third nap is NORMALLY short! So don’t stress about it!
Tip: Keep your baby on an age appropriate awake window and routine so that they are tired enough and the sleep pressure is high enough for them to fall asleep and stay asleep!
During sleep training your little one is getting used to a good consolidated night rest and this might be the best sleep your baby has ever had! So it will be completely normal during this process for them to take shorter naps during the day while they getting used to all this sleep!
Tip: Make sure your baby is not taking a little snooze while feeding before a nap. This can cause them to offload a bit of sleep pressure before taking a nap and cause them to either struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep for longer.
Still struggling with short naps? Give us a chance to help you to sort it out.