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Short Naps: why they happen & How to lengthen them

You've got your baby down for a nap, and 20 minutes later they're wide awake and you've barely had time to sit down. Short naps can be frustrating when you're looking forward to some precious moments to yourself to rest or get something done, and if they're impacting your baby's mood. So what can you do?


Some babies are cat nappers more naturally, and if they're getting enough day time sleep with frequent cat naps this isn't always detrimental to their night time sleep. However, it can be a sign that tweaking their sleep schedule or environment can help them sleep longer periods for their naps as it can be an indicaton that they're fully waking between their sleep cycles and struggling to independently fall back asleep again.


One of the most common causes of frequent cat napping is the timing of your baby's naps. Usually naps are happening a little too early and your baby hasn't built up enough sleep pressure in order to need a longer period asleep.

Another reason is that over time their sleep needs have adapted, so what was a longer nap in previous months is now a shorter nap and this is an indication that less day time sleep is perhaps now required or a different structure to their day time sleep.


Their sleep environment during naps is as equally as important as for the night time. Nap time should be in a dark, quiet room after sufficient wind down time to allow them to prepare for their nap. A reduction of stimulation 30 minutes before their nap time is very important and can help aid longer naps. White noise is also very helpful to mask any external sounds which may disrupt their sleep, as during the day there are usually more opportunities for external noise to cause issue. If you're going for a pram nap, white noise in the pram (using a safety tested device) and a Snoozeshade can help create darkness and quiet to prolong their nap and reduce outside environmental factors from disturbing them.


Creating a predictable day time nap routine is really conducive to achieving longer naps. I highly recommend waking baby at the same time every day, and putting them down for their naps at the same time each day. This allows them to fall into a natural sleep pattern for day times and again can aid prolonged nap times.


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Working out your baby or child's sleep needs can be daunting and it can also cause worry that you may disrupt them or make their sleep more unbalanced that it currently is.

This is where working with a professional can help you look at your little one's current schedule, the issues you're facing and where they are in their development and whats going on in their home life and help you to build a schedule that works for your individual.


If you would like more help with your child's sleep I can help create a tailor made plan for your family based on your individual needs. Explore my packages for something that suit you

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