Can a baby nap for too long

Too short naps and naps

The definition of “short naps” is when a nap lasts for less than 1 hour, which is just a nap. Newborns are very sleepy and can sometimes sleep for 2-3 hours at a time during the day. Between 6-8 weeks a baby's biorhythm begins to stabilize and 45 minute sleep cycles become recognizable. Short naps are quite normal at this age.

Babies under 16 weeks of age

If your baby is younger than 16 weeks, with 4 shorter naps per day (45-60min) and the waking times between naps correspond to the baby's age, then you can leave everything as it is!

However, by the time your baby is around 16 weeks old, they may start moaning more. Often times, this is the result of naps that are too short. Naps longer than 1 hour are more relaxing than those under an hour.

Babies older than 16 weeks

If your baby is older than 16 weeks and only takes short naps, the chances are high that he or she is overtired. Babies who suffer from fatigue are not only cranky during the day, but can also suffer from disturbed sleep at night. This leads to even greater fatigue and thus to sleep problems during the day. So the vicious circle goes on and on.

For this reason, I recommend that you help your baby from 16 weeks (at the latest) to combine the sleep cycles so that he can sleep longer in a row and is less overtired.

This is how you can extend your baby's naps

Here are the most common mistakes parents make when napping and how to avoid them:

  • Too long waking time between naps (leads to fatigue!): If you try to keep your baby awake longer in order to make him tired so that he sleeps longer, then it is very likely to fail. Make sure to put your baby to bed when he is tired and not already overtired.
  • Sleep associations: At this age, sleep associations such as a pacifier, getting to sleep, or sleeping while moving (strollers, swings, etc.) can lead to problems. After a 45-minute sleep cycle, your baby will go into a light sleep phase and will look around for the things that were present when he fell asleep (pacifier, breast, rocking movement) in order to be able to go back to sleep. If the sleeping environment has changed or if these sleep aids are no longer available and your baby cannot restore this state of his own accord, then he will wake up completely. In addition, it will then of course be difficult for him to fall asleep again. Sleep coaching is very effective for this problem and can help a baby work off the unfavorable sleep associations.
  • The sleeping environment is too bright: Melatonin (the drowsy hormone) is only produced in the dark. Because of this, babies generally sleep better when it's dark. During a light sleep phase that occurs after 45 minutes, light can have a disruptive effect and cause the baby to wake up completely.
  • Routine and inconsistency: Babies generally sleep best when their daily rhythm remains more or less the same. In addition, your baby may be confused if you sometimes breastfeed him until he falls asleep and other times expect him to fall asleep by himself. Try to follow your sleep ritual with every nap and keep it the same. If possible, make sure that your baby always sleeps in the same place. When purchasing an age-appropriate, sleep-optimized daily routine for your baby, the dreamlike daily routine manuals will help you.

I hope you found this information helpful and that you can use these handy tips. to improve your family's sleep. If your child only takes short naps, or you have the feeling that they are overtired and you do not know exactly how to react, then please contact me for onefree 15-minute sleep consultationon. Allow me to personally assess your child's sleep situation.