Sleep for The Very Aware and Alert Baby
Do you have a baby who never wants to shut his eyes? Is daytime sleep a problem?
Extroverted children are very interested in the world. Even as young infants, babies who are highly "tuned in” to the world, fight sleep. They do not want to take naps and fight to keep keep their eyes open every minute possible. What is the solution to helping these little ones? Children do need sleep to restore and recover, grow, and to learn. A young baby under the age of one year needs 13-15 hours of sleep a day.
The best answer for a parent with this temperament in their child, is to create a consistent daytime rhythm with nap time at home in your child’s crib. It helps to create as dark a room as possible, covering up even the slightest cracks of light as well as any small lights from monitors and night lights. Help your child relax with about 15 minutes of quiet time, soft talking or stories, and low lights. Warm up the sleep sack or other sleep clothing for a few minutes in the clothes dryer (or with a hair dryer) to help relax him. Use some lavender lotion on arms and neck if you like. Talk softly in the dark room, and slowly (this helps bring down your energy as well as your child’s.)
Have a loving separation and detach from your child by placing him gently on the crib mattress and telling your child “shhhh…go to sleep.”
Remember, you are a distraction to sleep, so it is best to create a quiet, dark space for your child to nap. Research shows EVERYONE sleeps best and longest when sleeping alone, away from noise and light.
Consistent and predictable patterns around sleep help create successful sleep sessions. A healthy amount of sleep for a daytime nap is at least 45 minutes, and no longer than 2-2.5 hours at a stretch. The FEWER responses you offer to your hard to settle child, the easier it is for them to tune the world out and go to sleep. It can be helpful with older children between 1-3 years, to have NOTHING distracting in the crib (like a stuffed toy of any kind). Play in the crib will delay the falling to sleep process so the less they have to play with, the faster the path to sleep. Naps on the run will not be as long or as restorative, so try and limit them to just a few times a week. Time and practice will bring good results!