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Helping your little one to sleep later in the morning

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If your child has started waking early despite previously sleeping through the night, here are some tips to help them sleep a little longer.

Although 6 am might not be the ideal start to your day, it’s generally considered the earliest “morning” time. If your child wakes up before this or if you want them to sleep later, consider these gentle strategies to extend their sleep:

1. Give it Time

If your child recently started sleeping through the night, wait a few weeks to see if their early waking naturally adjusts. Sometimes, it takes 2-3 weeks for them to start waking later.

2. Adjust Bedtime Feeding

Ensure any bedtime feeding is completed 10-15 minutes before putting your child to bed, and make sure they are fully awake when you do.

3. Block Out Light

Even a small amount of light can wake some children early, especially during brighter mornings. Use a black-out blind and an oversized curtain to minimize light in the room.

4. Manage External Noise

External noises like heating systems or rubbish trucks might be waking your child. Consider using a white noise machine to mask unwanted sounds throughout the night. Ensure it’s pure white, pink, or brown noise and runs consistently.

5. Keep Them Warm

Children often wake early because they are cold. Make sure your child is warm enough, as body temperature drops around 4 am. You can find out more about how to keep your little ones room a safe temperature here at The Lullaby Trust.

6. Use a Wake-Up Clock

A “Gro clock” or similar digital clock can be helpful. Children as young as 18 months can understand a clock indicating wake-up time. However, if it causes anxiety, wait until they are older to use it. Set the clock for no earlier than 6 am and adjust gradually as needed.

7. Treat Early Waking as Nighttime Waking

If your child wakes before 6 am, treat it like a nighttime waking. Keep them in their room until 6 am and avoid making early morning interactions stimulating. If your presence excites them, check on them periodically every 10 minutes.

8. Avoid Overtiredness

Overtired children are more likely to wake up early. Counterintuitively, putting your child to bed up to 30 minutes earlier (but not before 6 pm) can help. Give it about a week to see if it works.

9. Monitor Daytime Naps

If your child is still napping, ensure they aren’t getting too much sleep during the day. If they are around 30 months old, you might need to start reducing nap time. Frequent night wakings may indicate it’s time to drop the nap.

You can find more tips for baby sleep in my blog here.

If you are struggling with your little ones early mornings please get in touch. Book a free, no obligation call and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep.

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