Many families often tell me that their baby naps so well during the day, but night times are a battle. Or the nights are wonderful, but baby just will not nap. And while it’s completely normal for elements of this to be true for some babies, in many cases there are reasons for this. And these reasons can be eliminated so that both nap times and night times can be a whole lot better. So why do some babies nap well during the day but struggle to sleep well at night? To answer that question, we need to look at the difference between naps and night-time sleep.
Naps can be more challenging
Naps are definitely more challenging for many families. And this surprises many! When we think of baby related sleep deprivation, we think of sleepless nights, but actually its much more likely for naps to be an issue. Why?
- Night time sleep is usually preceded by a bedtime routine, and that routine is usually what is missing from nap time. Therefore, some babies are unable to nap as well because they don’t have that routine to help them wind down and to remind them that its time to sleep
- Night time sleep invariably always happens at home, in bed. Not so for naps. We can expect babies to take them in strollers, in the car, at Grandma’s, etc.
Naps happen during the day
This goes without saying, but when you think about what that actually means, you can see why naps can be more of a challenge. At night, the house is still and quiet,and it’s dark outside too. During the day, you have daylight and you have life going on outside- sometimes noisily. The phone might ring, someone might come to the door… all these distractions can be really unsettling for some babies. Naps can definitely be less relaxing!
How to fix troublesome naps
If your baby is having trouble with her naps, there are several things you can do to help her sleep better.
- Get a good nap time routine going. Obviously, it wouldn’t make sense to completely copy the bedtime routine (unless you really want two baths a day?!) but as close as you can get is a good idea. A story, a song, a drink of milk- all of this can help to settle and relax your baby, and also set reminders that its time to sleep.
- Be consistent.You need a nap schedule thats going to work, so make sure it happens at the same time every day.
- Give baby time to wind down. Imagine how difficult you would find it so suddenly drop what you’re doing to sleep! Make sure baby has some quiet time before you start the nap routine so that she is relaxed and ready to sleep
- Try to create night time as much as you can. Black out blinds are essential here, and if you can minimize noise too all the better!