Do you know what's the worst? Thinking you'll get to sleep in until 7am, but then your baby decides to start the day at 5am. The worst!! If this is your life currently, let's try to change this! First lets talk about what an early morning wake up is. I'd consider anything before 6am an early morning wake up. Now, if you have an ideal morning wake up time of 7am for example, you can use the following tips to see if you can get your child to sleep until your ideal morning wake up time. But if you try all of the things and your baby is still waking in the 6 o'clock hour, then they may be a somewhat early riser, but that is considered a totally normal and natural time to wake.
Light coming in
One of the most common reasons that babies wake early is because of the morning light coming through. Especially in the summer when the sun rises earlier. The sleep drive is so low in the early morning, that if sunlight is peaking through, your child might just decide to be up for the day! The fix for this is black out curtains or shades. Make sure the room is so dark that you have a hard time seeing your hand in front of your face.
Watch the wake window before bed
If this wake window is too long then your baby may be overtired before bed. When they’re overtired, they won’t sleep as well. You can try shortening the wake window by 15 mins if you suspect this is the case.
How much daytime sleep are they getting?
This kind of goes along with wake windows. You want to make sure your baby isn’t getting too little daytime sleep. If so, this can lead them to be overtired. And again, an overtired baby will not sleep as well. So if your baby missed a nap or has taken short naps all day, then you may need to bring bedtime up. You can move it up as early as 6 or 630pm if needed.
On the other hand… you don’t want your baby getting too much day time sleep. If they’re sleeping too much during the day, they won't be tired enough to sleep the full night. Try not to exceed the goal day time sleep amount for your baby's age.
How does your baby fall asleep at bedtime?
Take a look at how you are putting your child to bed. If you are rocking, bouncing, or feeding your baby to sleep, or they require a paci to fall asleep.. they may wake up and require that same thing in order to fall back asleep. Work on independent sleep!
Your response to the wake up
Last thing you want to evaluate is your response when the wake up occurs. If your baby wakes at 530 and they are used to you rushing in and picking them up and getting up for the day, they will automatically wake at that time and expect that response. What I’d advise you to do is if there is a wake up before 6am, treat it like it’s the middle of the night still. Don’t rush in and start the day, rather give them a few minutes to see if they will go back to sleep. Keep the sound machine going and the lights off. If they are content, leave them be.
I know these early morning wake ups are no fun. If you’re struggling with early morning wake ups, you’ve tried to address all of the potential causes listed above, and it’s still going on… you can implement sleep training at that time. As always, if you need any help, reach out to me either in my DMs or book a discovery call at the top of this page!
Your Sleep BFF,