Should You Wake a Sleeping Baby?

Nothing is sweeter than a sleeping baby, are we right?

A baby's sleep is believed to be sacrosanct; waking them up is taboo.

Well, we've got news.

While it's undisputed that babies need sleep, what not everyone knows is they don't care when they sleep, whether it's during the day or during the night.

So, a baby that sleeps the majority of the day? That baby will not be tired enough at night. That's the hard truth!

And as babies age, even within the first 6 months of life, their sleep needs and therefore total sleep duration drastically decreases: from 20 hours daily sleep as a newborn, to only 13 hours as a 6-month-old!

So you may be asking yourself: Where do these hours go?

As they grow, babies are able to stay awake for longer stretches of time before their sleep pressure makes them sleep again. Now, those 13 hours of total daily sleep can be distributed in many different ways across day and night.

Babies themselves don't care whether they sleep 6 hours during the day and only 7 hours at night—but we do!

If you want baby to sleep 10 hours at night, do the math: 13 - 10 = 3. That means you're aiming for 3 hours of total nap time. So if your baby starts to exceed that 3-hour sweet spot for daytime naps—wake them up!

That's one of the secrets of the How Babies Sleep method, and research strongly supports the notion that gently waking babies up to match the desired daytime sleep duration directly improves nighttime sleep. 

How do we wake babies up? Be a little noisy around them! If that doesn't do the trick, it's ok to pick them up. It's normal for them to be cranky (be honest, you are too when you get woken up.) Distract them with a new toy—or go straight into a feeding.

Questions? Email kulalaland@gmail.com