Caught in a vicious sleep cycle! — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Caught in a vicious sleep cycle!

My son is 14 mo today and we are caught in a vicious sleep cycle!  I can't break it!  He wakes up before 5 (4:30-4:45) some days and I try to leave him in crib until at least 5:30.  He is obviously not well rested b/c he is so whiney and cranky.  Rubbing eyes and tugging ears by 7 so he takes a very early morning nap (some days before 9) and...that's it.  I cannot seem to get him to take a PM nap.  A little history- he was always a bad sleeper.  Didn't sleep through night until 9 months or so after sleep training.  Before that he was waking at least 3 x.  Never a great napper.  Ever.  Back to today.  After that early morning nap I try to get him to take another.  And nothing.  It's either crying or playing in his crib.  So he starts showing signs of being tired by 4:30 and he's asleep at 6pm for the night.  He goes to bed beautifully, no tears, no screaming.  If we try to push bedtime later then all hell breaks loose b/c he is over tired.  So he's off to bed by 6, 6:30 the latest.  A good day he sleeps until 6am but that is rare.  Even 5 is ok b/c I totally get he is getting 11-12 hours.  But before 5 is just rough.  And the naps.  Oh the naps.  Any help.  Ive read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child which helped trememndously with bedtime at night.  I think if the naps improved we might be on to something. Ive tried:

-timing the naps (ex, putting him in after so many hours of being awake)
-waiting for signs of sleepiness 
-not waiting for signs of sleepiness
-walks in stroller
-rides in car

Re: Caught in a vicious sleep cycle!

  • How long are his morning naps? Some kids only need one nap per day at this age so this might be okay. And I know plenty that take that nap in the morning. The one thing my kids did need at this age and sometimes still do is a little quiet time. Whether that means playing in a crib with a book or having music on in the living room and playing with blocks, it all helps decompress! I don't have any advice for his waking early, sorry. 
    whataboutscience
  • OP are things any better? Any change?
  • I don't have a lot of advice, DS (16 mo) is and has always been an "early to sleep, early to rise" kind of guy. He's up between 5-6 every morning, sometimes as early as 4:30. And he insists on going to bed no later than 7 (for a long time it was 6). We tried keeping him up later, but that never makes him sleep in any longer — if anything, he will wake up earlier the later he goes to bed. Around 7 p.m. seems to be the magic time that gets him to sleep the most at night. How long is your LO's nap? I think at this age they need 12-13 hours of sleep per 24 hour period, so if he is sleeping 10-11 hours at night and taking a good nap 1-2 hour nap, he may just be getting all the sleep he needs. 
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