Remember the days when you could sleep in? If you’re a mama, the term “slow mornings” is likely no longer in your vocabulary. Hitting the snooze button has been replaced with a crying baby… Spoiler alert, babies don’t have a snooze button, no matter how early their early morning wakings may be.
Although sleeping in may no longer be realistic, that doesn’t mean you need to be woken up before the crack of dawn every day. Early wakings are tough to navigate as a parent, and they can throw off your entire day. Today, we’re covering early morning wakings, why they happen, and how to prevent them!
Early Morning Wakings
Early morning wakings are annoying. There, we said it. They’re the worst! As parents, we’re tired enough after a full night’s rest, and those last few hours of sleep are priceless. Early morning wakings are the definition of waking up on the wrong side of the bed- which is why we’re going to help you minimize them.
It’s super common for babies to wake between the hours of 4 and 6 a.m. (If they’re waking up earlier than that, we’d classify it as a night waking!) If your baby is rising after 6 a.m., that’s a typical waking hour and they’re ready to be up for the day. Although it would be amazing if babies could just wait until 7:30 (at least), typically, babies rise between 6-7 a.m. If your baby is rising before 6 a.m., stay tuned for some tips to get a few more hours of shuteye!
Why Do Early Morning Wakings Happen?
There are so many reasons why early morning wakings can happen, but there are a handful of frequent offenders. Here are some of the most common reasons why early morning wakings happen, and how to prevent them.
Their bedtime is too late
Early bedtime is best! While it may feel like a later bedtime = later to rise, this is the opposite for babies. (This doesn’t apply to newborns- if you’re looking for guidance, check out our post on newborn sleep schedules.) Early bedtimes are beneficial because they encourage more sleep and a better routine. We have a whole post on the benefits of early bedtimes and how they can help your little one. Plus, early bedtime buys you back some “me-time”!
They’re woken by the sunrise
It’s natural to wake up as sunlight peaks through the windows, even for many adults! In this scenario, blackout curtains will be your new best friend. Make sure that their sleeping environment is COMPLETELY dark. If you can’t get blackout curtains right away, you can even tape black construction paper over the windows as a makeshift light-blocker. Eliminating light is a game-changer!
They’ve become accustomed to their waking schedule
If you’re waking up with your baby at 4:30 in the morning, your baby has now learned that it’s the time they should be waking up. The rule of thumb is that if it’s still time to be asleep, treat an early morning waking the same way that you would a night waking. Put them back to sleep, keep the room dark, and encourage self-soothing habits as best as you can. When babies get used to waking up at the same time every day, their body’s internal clock will continue to cue waking at that time!
Their sleep and nap schedule is wonky
If your baby’s sleep schedule (including naps) is out of whack, their wakeup time will be, too. Make sure you’re following an age-appropriate sleep and nap schedule to set your little one up with the best odds of having a regular sleep cycle.
Making sure that your child is getting enough sleep during the day (but not too much sleep) is crucial for getting them to sleep through the night. If you’re wondering what a normal awake/nap schedule looks like, here’s a sample guide by age group:
Need More Help Getting Your Sleep Back on Track?
Exhausted and can’t seem to catch a break? We can help you! If after trying these tips you still aren’t getting solid sleep, please reach out. Some sleep issues require all hands on deck, and Sleep Shore is here to help you get quality sleep again.
Sleep Shore offers one-on-one consulting for newborn, infant, and toddler sleep. We’re here to help you fix whatever is keeping your family up at night. Whether that’s sleep regressions, bedtime resistance, or just getting back on track, better sleep is possible! Sleep is a must, and our goal is to get that back for you. We’ll help get your little one on a solid sleeping and napping schedule!
See what this mama had to say about our sleep services below:
“Danielle has changed my family’s life, I’m not even exaggerating. My 2.5-year-old son had never gone to sleep on his own. My husband or I would rock him for upwards of two hours every night before he would finally (or hopefully) be asleep enough for us to sneak him into his crib. Nearly every night he would wake up crying and would end up in bed with us or one of us would sleep the rest of the night with him on the couch.
When I heard about Danielle from my sister, I really thought we were past helping but I thought I would give it a shot. After a phone consultation, she sent us a sleep plan with two different plans for me to choose from. It was clear to me that Danielle has a lot of expertise in this field and was very kind, down-to-earth, and nonjudgmental. She answered all of my questions thoroughly. Once we began sleep training, she was there for me all along the way (sometimes texting late into the night to make sure we were doing ok, giving advice on what to do, and just being a reassuring voice that we can do this!).
I am telling you I was so skeptical but by the third night, he was hardly crying at all when we would put him in the crib AWAKE! By the end of the first week, he was going to bed in his crib and not crying at all. I truly didn’t think that this could or would happen let alone for it to take less than a week!!! He now sleeps through the night every night and goes to bed without a fuss. I very highly recommend this sleep consultation service! If you are struggling with your child’s sleep habits (or lack thereof) like I was, talk to Danielle and be prepared for her to change your life.”
-MOM OF A 2.5-YEAR-OLD