Early Morning Wake-Ups

Sleep Advice To Overcome Early Morning Wake-ups

This can be one of the most frustrating things when it comes to your baby or toddler’s sleep – I’ve been there and 5am wake-ups are not good for anyone (particularly if you’ve been up previously in the night as well!).
Just because your child may wake in the early hours of the morning, it doesn’t mean it is time for them to get up yet (I’m talking before 6am). An appropriate biological wake-up time for a baby or young child is between 6-7am, so if they are waking happy, chatty and cheerful between these times, even if you aren’t ready to start your day, this is normal and reasonable. However, if they are waking much earlier than 6am and do not seem well-rested, there are a few common factors that could be contributing to this early morning waking:
  • Hunger – if your baby is younger than 6 months, chances are they could be hungry (especially if they have gone all night without any other feeds). If you suspect this, you can try a small feed at this time. If they go back to sleep easily following this feed, then you know the waking was out of true hunger.

  • Rising sun & environmental factors – although daylight saving's has ended, continue to ensure your child’s room is nice and dark to rule out light as a contributor. Also if you have a lot of environmental noises, such as traffic, birds etc., white noise can help block out these noises, which could potentially be waking your baby in the early hours.
  • Coldness – with winter just around the corner, another common factor of early morning waking is if your little one is too cold. Between 4-6am is the coldest part of the night, so make sure you have your child dressed appropriately and their room ideally doesn’t drop lower than 16 degrees.
  • Overtiredness -– this may not seem logical, but keeping your little one up longer during the day or pushing their bedtime later at night, will not help them sleep later in the morning. This is because if they are going to bed at night overtired, it will make it much harder for them to settle back to sleep in the early hours of the morning when their sleep is the lightest.
  • Sleep schedule – (this is somewhat related to my above point of overtiredness) but if your little one is not on an age-appropriate schedule or not getting enough sleep during the day, this will impact their night sleep and cause unwanted night waking’s and early morning waking’s. To see how much sleep your baby or child should be getting for their age, check out my link by clicking here.
  • Self-settling – if your baby doesn’t settle to sleep at bedtime, or after night feedings, on their own and requires your assistance or a sleep prop, then naturally they will look for these same props come the early morning. Even if they are sleeping through until the early morning, because sleep is so light at this time, it is harder for them to fall back asleep without these props.
  • Consistency in your approach – treat early morning waking’s as you would with any other night waking. Be 100% consistent in how you respond with your settling technique or leave them till at least 6am before getting them up. Getting them up early will only reinforce the waking, and before you know it that 5.30am waking becomes 5.15am, 5am etc. So set a reasonable start to the day (ideally between 6-7am) and ensure your approach and behavior is demonstrated consistently to your baby or toddler.
Our Personalised Sleep Plan Packages are the perfect way to tackle this sleep issue. Check them out by clicking here and get in touch if you’d like tailored help and support for your little one.

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After two weeks of implementing Emma’s Personalised Sleep Plan the feeding to sleep habit has been broken, day sleeps are lengthening and are now between 60 and 90 minutes long and he has started sleeping through the night!  

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