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Breaking the overtired cycle

(6 Posts)
firstgo1984 Wed 31-May-17 08:49:24

My 3rd thread about sleep! Sorry everyone, but advice is appreciated!
For those that haven't read the other 2, my LO is nearly 7 months old.
He used to have a lovely 3 nap schedule, with 2 long naps and a cat nap at the end of the day, 7.30pm bedtime with a 5.30 to 6am wake up.
He was getting 9.5 to 10 hours sleep overnight and 3.5 to 4 in the daytime, so 13 to 14 hours per day.

For some reason he started taking short naps and refusing his third, I thought he was trying to transition to 2 naps and probably then kept him awake too long, causing him to get more overtired!

I have been logging his sleep for just over 2 weeks and during the first week he averaged 12 hours per day, 12.5 in the second week and the last few days have been a bit variable (anything from 11 to 14 hours per day).

He has been waking early in the morning during this time and usually falling asleep easily on me, but not in his cot. His first nap of the day 2.5 hours after waking up has been around 1.5 hours for the last week or so, but then the rest of the day he cat naps, leading to a variable bedtime.

Do you think I am right in thinking that the overtiredness built up over the last few weeks is the likely cause of the shorter, more challenging naps as the day progresses?

I have been trying to get him asleep 90 mins after a 30 min nap over the last few days on the advice of FATEdestiny. If I keep ding this for the next few days, combined with a slightly early bedtime if needed, do you think that is a good strategy for now?

FATEdestiny Wed 31-May-17 09:17:03

Short naps themselves dont automatically mean baby is over tired. But short, infrequent nap will lead to it. If you recognise baby is having short naps so are flexible with your days to allow for more naps, that is how you avoid baby being over tired.

It's just acknowledging that making baby over tired by stretching awake time too far is unlikely to give you longer naps. It happens the other way around in my experience - naps get longer so then awake time increases. Not short naps, so I'll increase awake time to make them longer. If you are see what I mean?

Best way to lengthen naps - sleep in something that moves and when baby first leaves a deep sleep into a light sleep phase (but before fully waking up), try to lull back to a deep sleep with movement.

There are other methods to extend naps. "Wake to sleep" for example. Slightly disturb baby just before the end of a sleep cycle and resettle back to a sleep to skip out the light sleeping phase.

It insert dummy / nipple / usual settling method quickly as soon as you notice baby leaving the deep sleep phase.

The idea is you try to resettle every nap. Initially most times it won't work - so you have less awake time to next nap (to avoid getting over tired). But occassionally it will work. The instances it does work should get more frequent until a resettle isn't needed, baby learns to stay asleep between sleep cycles without any intervention.

firstgo1984 Wed 31-May-17 09:41:10

Thanks FATEdestiny
What method would you suggest for a baby that used to sleep 2 long naps a day, so I know he knows how to get through into a second sleep cycle. I am just not sure why he stopped doing it! Do you think wake to sleep could help in this circumstance?

He woke at 5am (yawn) today so then had a nap from 7.30 - 9am
I will attempt wake to sleep during his next nap. He usually wakes on the dot of 30 minutes for a short one. So I will go in shortly before this and see if I can rouse him gently and get him into the next phase.
I used wake to sleep to successfully get rid of an habitual night waking at 4.10 on the dot!

I guess I have nothing to lose.. if it doesn't work then I can just do a couple more 30 minute naps to see us through the rest of the day.

FATEdestiny Wed 31-May-17 10:22:59

Most newborns sleep longer stretches. Not unusual to get 2h plus naps from younger baby, for example. Then then as tgey get older they lose this ability.

A young baby sleeping long stretches doesn't mean the baby is linking sleep cycles. Developmentally babies are not born sleeping in cycles. They are born with passive sleep, so stay asleep passively until a need isn't met.

As they get older their sleep matures and develops into cycles. That's when shorter naps start. Even though they were previously sleeping longer chunks.

firstgo1984 Wed 31-May-17 12:13:19

The longer naps developed slowly by themselves when he was around 5 and a half months after being a catnapper for the previous few months, so I think he probably has linked sleep cycles.

I will give wake to sleep a go anyway and see what happens!

firstgo1984 Wed 31-May-17 13:40:02

1st attempt at wake to sleep resulted in a nap of 1 hour 10 minutes! Much improved on the 30 mins I had been getting!

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