Early rising is one of the trickiest sleep issues to resolve. Here are our top tips for encouraging your little one to sleep a bit later…
1. Check the Basics
Too noisy? Hungry? Wet nappy? Room too light? Making sure your child’s room is pitched back can really help with early rising. I recommend installing an Easy Blind. Make sure any night lights are red/orange. I recommend these plug ins.
2. Combat overtiredness
Bring bedtime forwards. Don’t panic this won’t cause an even earlier morning.
3. Try sleep-inducing foods
Add oats, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, hummus and/or bananas to evening meals.
4. Encourage daytime sleep
The right amount of daytime sleep helps prevent overtiredness. See our Sleep Charts for guidelines. But make sure the last sleep of the day is not too close to bedtime.
5. Try the wake-to-sleep technique
Go into your little one 45 minutes before their normal wake-up time and rouse them slightly. DON’T wake them up. Try this consistently for 4-5 nights before stopping to see if the habit has been broken. Please note: this method cannot be use for little ones waking out of need i.e. hunger.
6. Utilise natural light
Keep their room dark if your little one wakes before 6am and keep interaction to a minimum. After 6am, expose them to natural light: open the curtains and let them look out the window – point out the cars, trees or, with older children, play “I spy” or take your little one outside. Lots of natural light mid-afternoon can help this process.
7. Distinguish between day and night
Keep the bedroom dark at night. In the morning, put a light on or open the curtains and say “Good morning, rise and shine”. Make it clear you are getting them up because it’s morning not because you have given up with trying to get them back to sleep! For older children, use a picture clock such as the Gro Clock.
8. Assess if you have an early riser or an early bird
If your little one is up early and happy, not too tired by lunchtime or crying for his bed an hour before bedtime, then it’s possible you have an early bird. Work on trying to get them to play happily in his cot/room until it’s morning.
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