In this blog, we are going to be addressing the fact that you’ve recognized that your baby doesn’t sleep enough, or your little one doesn’t sleep enough. So we’re going to find out why. Where is it in 24 hours that the lack of sleep is coming from? Because understanding this is key.
In the previous blog we started talking about overtiredness and what that does, and the effect of overtiredness. So today, we are going to fully understand where the overtiredness could be coming from.
First of all, could it be lack of daytime sleep? That’s the first one I want you to think about. Is your child under three? If they are, then they probably do still need some daytime sleep. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes they need daytime sleep beyond age three as well.
But if they are under three, then it’s pretty much a sure thing that they do need some. And if that’s the case, how much should that be, at this current age and stage that they are? How much daytime sleep would be beneficial for them? And in what sections? How many? How many naps and how long would they be, if they’re going to be doing the best sleep they can do? So if we can understand that we can then understand whether they’re getting enough or not.
That immediately gives us a fixing point like, “Ah, okay, my two-year-old, let’s say, is having a half an hour nap in the day.” Okay brilliant, we’ve identified a problem. It’s not enough sleep for a two-year-old, we need to be aiming more towards the two-hour mark. So we already go, “Oh right, okay. That’s what I need to do to help to fix things.” It could be the amount, but it could also be the quality. So you might think, “Oh no, my child gets loads of sleep. They get the exact amount that they need for their age and stage.”
But if the quality of that sleep isn’t great that could be the problem. It could be the timing as well. So what if they’re getting the quantity overall, but the quality is poor and it’s in little snatched naps of light sleep. And perhaps, in their case, it’s not restorative enough, and the quality of sleep is down. Also, motion sleep, so the sleep that you have on the go, in the pushchair, or the car, or on the move, motion sleep often won’t give the same quality of sleep as a proper sleep space and ideal sleep environment. It can, but often it doesn’t. So that could be the key and the thing that is causing your little one to be overtired. So these are all things that you can look at and explore to spot it with your little one where’s that overtiredness coming from.
The other thing with timing to look at is if they’re awake for too long between sleeps.
So sometimes people will tell me, “Yep, they’re getting enough sleep.” And they are, they’re getting enough. Let’s go back to our two-year-old, perhaps they’re getting nearly two hours every day and it’s brilliant, but they’re taking that a bit late in the day. So actually, from their morning wake-up time until the start of that nap time, if that window of awakeness is too long, even if they’re getting the ideal amount of nap after that, the very fact that wake window is too long could be the reason for their overtiredness, even if they are getting enough naptime. So timing does play a part in this as well.
Timing is something that can easily be overlooked or ignored because you think, “They get the sleep eventually.” Yeah, but that extended wakeful period may have already done the harm and cause the overtiredness.
When you look at bedtime itself. Is bedtime late, a bit too late or irregular? Does it move around a lot? That could be another reason for overtiredness, a bedtime that isn’t consistent, or that is too late for a little one.
Most 0 to 6 year olds, some seven-year-olds, will do best with a bedtime around 7:00 PM. That’s if you operate a kind of a day in the life of where you want to wake up between 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM, maybe you have school or preschool, or you are working, and then wind down, your evening meal or whatever, and then to sleep around 7:00 PM, somewhere between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, for sure. Absolutely, somewhere between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, for anyone, I would say, 0 to 10 years. You may get a few on the older side that can cope with a slightly later bedtime, but generally speaking, from 0 to 10 years, I would say somewhere between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, it’s going to fit really, really well. 7:00 PM’s great, right down the middle.
The last one that you could look at in terms, if you’re trying to figure out, where is this overtiredness coming from? I know my child’s overtired, I figured that out in the last episode, but where is it coming from? Could it be disturbed nights? Do you have lots of wake ups going on in the night, lots of disruption? Are they up and down? Are they having wakeful periods in the night?
That, in itself, is going to cause overtiredness because not only do they lose those bits of sleep when they wake up, but the very fact that they’re having them means that the sleep cycles are not thorough and they’re not nourishing. We cycle through our sleep like this. And if they’re spending a lot of time up here, they’re not getting their deep, nourishing sleep and having that restorative effect. So it could be the disturbed nights, okay?
So have a think about those, see which it could be for you. If this has helped you go, “Ah yes, it’s that,” then brilliant, because you can then move on into my blog, where I’m going to be sharing with you how to actually fix that, how to get them to sleep more.
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