Early rising can unravel sleep and most parents are desperate to find the solution. It is important to look at the bigger picture when trying to solve early rising.
Firstly we need to talk realistic sleep…How early is too early?
We need to be reasonable, although most parents would love a slow start to the day it is normal for a child to wake between 6-7am. A wake before 6am is counted as an early rise and should be treated as a night wake. But trying to resettle your baby after 6am could mess with the science behind their sleep.
1. Make the room as dark as possible.
Light is a big contributing factor to those early starts. Ensure your child's room is dark enough to get great sleep. How dark? Go into the room in the middle of the day. The room should be so dark you are unable to see your hand before your face.
2. Crank the white noise.
This will help to mask any noises; the birds, dustbin trucks, or any noisy neighbours! Noises that we, as adults, may sleep through, might be enough to wake your child. Make sure it’s a consistent steady noise playing though the whole night until waking time. Why? White noise is proven by research to aid deeper and longer sleeps. I highly recommend Glow Dreaming nightlights and am happy to offer a 10% discount code to all my clients - just hop onto their website here...... and use the code ENHANCE10 at the checkout.
3. Don’t reward the early rise.
A child is left tired after an early start (aren't we all) and many parents fall into the trap of offering an early nap. This results in the whole day shifting to meet that early rise. Say hello to a vicious cycle of early rising, early naps and early bedtimes. Avoid this by distracting baby until they are about 30mins from their normal routine. Avoid all car rides, prams or quiet time on the couch, or you will find your little one asleep before you know it. (Please note babies under 6 months are an exception to this rule - they need to feed and sleep when their body needs it)
4. Take them into the natural light
The bright natural sunlight triggers our internal body clock (called the circadian rhythm). Natural light is powerful and fresh air has been proven by research to help the physical energy and emotional wellbeing of both mother and child to help them sleep better.
5. Keep them in their cot.
When baby wakes early, aim to keep them in their sleep space until 6am. Why? Maintaining a boring, dark, unstimulating room will ensure there is nothing to invite them to wake earlier. Children are easily motivated if an iPad, an invitation into mum and dad’s bed, tv or a bottle or breakfast is offered in those early hours. In offering these rewards you inadvertently reinforce the early rise. Instead aim to bore them back to sleep by remaining in their bedroom until a more reasonable hour.
In summary, maintain a normal routine and baby's body clock should continue. Without the bad habits creeping in you should slip back into healthy and happy sleep before you know it. More than anything, know this won’t last forever.
Make sure you know your child's age appropriate wake window and nap requirements. Download your free copy here
If nothing seems to be working book a free call with Tessa so we can resolve your early mornings once and for all.
Sleep deprivation is torture. Tessa Gow is a midwife and certified sleep consultant working with families across the globe. She offers nurturing methods with lasting results. Let her be the support and guidance you need to get through this. On the other side of a consultation with Enhance Sleep is rested, functioning families. Take the first step towards healthy sleep by contacting me today.