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  • Writer's pictureAndrea

5 Sure Fire Ways To Fix The Short Nap Trap

I know how the story goes. The one where your well-intentioned plans for your child to have a great sleep accidentally gets you stuck in a loop of short naps and an overtired baby that can’t get the real sleep they need to get back to their bubbly, adorable, and just about perfect personality.

I know, because I’ve been stuck in that loop before. And it’s not pretty.

The short nap cycle can pop up when your baby seems tired, so you put them down for a nap. But they’re not tired enough for a longer, quality sleep so they wake up in less than an hour. But that means they didn’t get the restorative sleep they really need, so they’re tired again quickly.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Augh!

Short naps sleep training
Fixing your baby's short naps

Fortunately there is plenty that you can do to help your little one get back on track to longer, restorative naps that has them waking up feeling refreshed and content. Sounds a lot better than a baby that constantly needs naps because the last one was too short, right?

When the advice is simple, practical, and tangible, it’s something you’ll actually put into practice, so you’ll actually see those results! Yes and YES!

Just a note: Short naps are completely normal when it comes to newborn sleep. So don’t stress if your baby is new! These tips especially apply to the 4+ month babies in the room. If your little one fits in the newborn category, snap up my newborn sleep guide to get gentle, age appropriate support so both of you are getting your rest.

1. Room as dark as possible. Yes, I’m here talking about having a super dark room once again. You know why? Because it makes a huge difference. Sometimes we think that a fairly dark room is “dark enough”, but you might be surprised at how much longer your little one naps when you get the room completely dark - like bottom of the sea darkness. One could nap forever when it’s that dark! Most regular blinds don’t cut it to get things this dark (Looking at you, store blinds that claim to be blackout…).

You’ve heard me talk about my 2 fave options when it comes to real blackout; Sleepout & Blackout EZ. Both have incredible powers when it comes to ease, effectiveness, and complete darkness! Allll the things we’re looking for in a blackout curtain worth our time (and dollars!).

2. White noise. Have you ever seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Sometimes I feel like Toula’s dad - no matter the problem, Windex will fix it. But in this case, it’s white noise. There are so many noises that can disrupt that quality sleep your baby is getting, but one powerful tool to combat it all.

3. Awake Windows done right. You know how critical it is to solidify those awake windows with your child. While it doesn’t have to be down to the minute, it’s an excellent way to stave off those overtired, Cortisol-fueled meltdowns, or long undertired nights that take them ages to fall asleep. When it comes to naps, if the awake windows are too short, there won’t be enough sleep pressure for a good, long nap.

4. Teach them independent sleep. This tip has got to be the cornerstone in which all other tips depend on. Every other tip will help, but if you really want to see the results you’re looking for, it should be paired with their ability to sleep independently. This means they don’t rely on you (age appropriate, of course!) to put them back to sleep when they wake up too early. Crying out for mom to put their soother back in or feed them to sleep really wakes them up, and this especially doesn’t work when it comes to daytime sleep.

5. Fools rush in. If you hear your little one fussing partway through a nap, WAIT. Give it a couple minutes and see if your babe settles themselves without your intervention. If they do it, great! If they don’t, just get them up and try again at their next nap. You want to give them the opportunity to practice linking their sleep cycles.

Listen, I get it. I get it allll. Short naps have been dubbed “crap naps” for a reason. They’re not enough time for baby to feel rested, you don’t get enough time to get anything done or just plain chill, and you’re constantly having to be home to put your baby to bed. It’s really mentally taxing!

If proper sleep feels like a dream, or the fatigue feels like something you just can’t carry anymore - reach out! We’ve got to stop pretending that we’re made to function while running on empty. Getting expert support puts you back on track to feeling like you again - and that’s something you deserve to have.


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