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Episode Highlights:

  • Sample Scheduled for every stage of naps to adjust with ease
  • Understanding how to adjust and how long it will take to go back to “normal”

Ready to Sleep Better?

Podcast Episode Transcripts:

Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.

Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Thank you for tuning in. And welcome to day three of the save your sanity sleep workshop. My name is Courtney Zentz, the founder of tiny transitions, and I hope you are enjoying the content that you are getting so far. On day one here in my workshop, we talked about sleep foundations and building your child to be a solid sleeper for life. There’s a lot that goes into sleep, it can be super complex. And hopefully you’re finding value and actionable information, that right away, you can build into what you’re doing to structure a day and overnight that really meets the needs that you have for your family, as well as your little ones sleep.
Yesterday, we
talked a little bit more about crafting your ideal day, what it looks like and how you begin to structure what that day is, and how it ultimately unfolds. Much of the success around crafting your ideal day is going to frankly lead into today’s topic here on day three, which is early morning wakings. They are the single biggest challenge that both clients and prospects face with their sleep and the struggles they face in their home. Sometimes it’s a four month old that’s up for the day at 5am and ready to eat and start that day. Sometimes it’s a five year old, who’s up at 5am ready to start the day, eat some Cheerios and get on that school bus. So we’re going to tackle through all of it. And I’m going to talk to you today about what those common challenges are for early morning wakings. As you have questions, if this is your first time joining, make sure you do pop those comments in and let me know also give me a big thumbs up if you’re here right now. I’m not sure how many people are live. Looks like there’s quite a few out there. So welcome. And let me know who’s who’s out here. Where you’re struggling with early mornings, it’s you know, something I actually announced yesterday on Instagram. So my Instagram handle is tiny transitions sleep coach. And I actually am changing the whole way I do my Instagram now, where every day I’m going to be posting new videos that are asleep tip videos, there’ll be appropriate for all age children. To help you further with some great tips and a little bit of a different format. I feel like video I love doing and I love chatting and helping and serving. So I’m going to change things around you’re going to start to see a whole bunch of videos only on my feed and you know take you through a lot of helpful information. So chatting about early morning wakings there are a series of things that lead to an early morning waking but first I want to talk about what is considered an early morning waking so that we’re all clear on the same page here Okay, much to your dismay, a child’s natural circadian rhythm is really most closely guided by the light and dark. Okay, so that means that you know, as it starts to get dark at night their body signals to create melatonin. Melatonin is something that is a hormone that prepares your body to sleep, it is not a sleep aid, it prepares your body to sleep. And then in the morning, your body basically brews its coffee, right? And that is in the form of adrenaline and cortisol hormones for the day, right? So you’ve got melatonin for the night. And then you’ve got adrenaline and cortisol for the day. That process is somewhat biological, right? Your body clock, your circadian rhythm, the way in which you’re structuring your body to regulate is going to be what time it kind of thinks it is to wake up, I will tell you any time after six o’clock in the morning, is what sleep professionals like myself would consider an acceptable wake up time. Now some people that may not be and we can talk about how you adjust things out to more of a seven o’clock or eight o’clock wake up. But it is something that I like to kind of say what do you consider early morning 8am is not considered early morning. In most cases. Again, I do work with like different people that have different schedules. And sometimes we have to rig things with the light to make that the normal schedule, but I will say that’s sort of the exception to the rule, not the norm that I see. So essentially, I consider an early morning waking anything that’s really taking place before 6am. Okay, and I consider bedtime to be appropriate, depending on the age of your child, between about six and 8pm. Really for the first five years of life. I think it’s a totally acceptable bedtime to fall somewhere between you know, when they’re newborns it can vary, right? Typically, it’s a little bit later when they’re kind of infants if they have an off nap day a 630 bedtime may be totally appropriate. Traditionally, bedtime is going to fall somewhere around seven o’clock. So when I’m talking to you today, I’m talking in a seven to eight o’clock bedtime, and a six o’clock in the morning or later wake up. Okay. So when we talk about early mornings, it’s things before 6am. So let’s dive in. What are the reasons that early morning wakings happen? I have a long list of them here. Because early morning wakings can be very complex, they can also be one of those things where the reason parents struggle the most is because frankly, they’re trying too many things. And they’re not giving enough time to allow that one thing that’s going to work to happen. So let’s dive in. So who’s excited. I know some of you’re struggling out there with early wakings. So we’re going to chat and get right to it. The single most important thing that I see that contributes to early morning wakings is frankly, your timings off. Your timing is off somewhere, it could mean that you should move to two naps from three naps. depending on the age of your child, it
could mean
that, you know, you’ve got to drop that last power nap because it’s really hurting things. It could mean that frankly, your last nap to bedtime window is too long. And it’s causing overtired. So what ends up happening when an early morning waking is triggered by the timing of the naps, right? If your windows too long before bed, your body’s going well wait a minute, you need to stay awake, right? So it triggers these stimulant hormones that flood your little body to basically say, Hey, you got to stay awake. And you can see those effects of that hormone flooding
all the way through to the morning. Right? So overtired much too many of I feel like my parents age would say no, no, just keep the baby up later, they’ll sleep in later, it’s actually the opposite, right? You want to balance avoiding overtired, because that is almost always going to creep in to cause early morning wakings. So tip number one is going to be watching your last snap to bedtime window and making sure that that is set up appropriately for the age of your child. If you’re not sure what that should be get the workbook, get the guide, join my slumber Made Simple Facebook group, go to tiny transitions comm forward slash tools, all of the information is out there for you in some capacity for you to download what the ideal is, should be what the awake windows should be and how it should look. Okay. second issue that we’re going to see that causes early morning wakings is that your child is actually being put down for bedtime, to drowsy. So there is something called stage one quiet alert sleep, that stage one quiet alert sleep essentially is a form of sleep already. So you’re technically putting your child down to bed already sleeping. What happens then is they’re going through the night and they are able to consolidate in many cases, some cases they’re not and they’re up every hour and a half. And that’s also part of your problem is that they’re going to bed early asleep. But in the early morning wakings they’re holding on to that looking for the support to get them back down, especially because between four and 6am is actually your lightest stages of sleep. So one of the things that is very interesting is the first about five to six hours of sleep in a child is the most restorative sleep of the night. It is when their body gets into the deepest part. It is when they restore it is not even keel throughout the whole night. Okay, they do flow through various stages of sleep throughout the night. But the deepest and most restorative happens at the early part of the night. Which means at the end of the day, you have to pay attention because they’re in later stages of sleep. But again, if they’re kind of coming to, and they wake up and they’re used to you, rocking them back to sleep, holding them, touching them, bouncing them doing something to get them back to sleep. They’re going to be looking forward and I know sometimes I work with parents and they’re like, no, they’re still awake, but they’re drowsy. I’m like how drowsy like Tell me what’s happening there. And they’re like air right? There’s the kind of not moving and like they’re sleeping. That’s that’s called quiet alert sleep. So you definitely want to err away from that type of going down. The next is going to be warding off hunger. Right. So there’s a balance of a baby’s sleep needs and the amount of food they should take. Kids need 24 to 32 ounces of milk in a given 24 hour period. When they get it during the day. They’ll sleep through the night.
I’m working with a baby right now. She just started last night. She is four months old. Okay, she is exclusively breastfed, so we’re unable to know the exact amount she’s transferring. But Mom feels pretty good about the sessions and the bull feeds throughout the day. Baby did amazing last night was down in about 17 minutes for her first bedtime independently this child had only ever nursed to sleep was down about 17 minutes or first night independently and then only woke once for three minutes. But was up this morning at 530. And mom was like, you know, what do I do in that situation? And basically in that situation, she slept all night and she didn’t eat all night like she’s used to right so she’s hungry. You got to feed her At 530 nobody wants to get up yet so feeder, put her back down awake and let her get another two cycles of sleep in before you get up for the day, right? There’s gonna always be that balance of habit versus hunger and making sure that you know, kids who are hungry should eat frankly like and if that means the middle of the night feeding, that’s fine, as long as they’re going back down awake to finish through the cycles. Otherwise, if you get them up at 530, they’re going to be pissed and pretty miserable the rest of the day. So you always want to do that check on what you’re feeding and take is what it looks like the age the intake and you know, again, 24 to 32 ounces to ward off hunger. Okay, the next thing is lighting. A lot of people use night lights. A lot of parents use them with newborns because they don’t want to trip over themselves trying to get in there four times a night. A lot of toddlers use Night Lights because you know, frankly, they’re scared of the dark or they have is perceived scared of the dark. They just are a little more aware that they can’t see anything that freaks them out a bit. I am not totally against nightlights, I will say the projectiles nightlight is probably my favorite because with my kids, they both do like having a little bit of light. So I buy the projectiles nightlight and it shoots up onto the ceiling. I think my daughter has like I don’t know, Finding Nemo and my son has Spider Man. And when I go to bed at night, I go in and actually turn the ball. So the only thing that’s left is this really small light that is barely noticeable. But it’s still there for them to see it if they legitly need to turn it back up for whatever reason that probably one in seven nights, I’ll come in and it’ll be back up on the ceiling in my son’s room. My daughter, she doesn’t care. But my son, he’s six, and he’s kind of like, Hey, where the heck did spider man go? Right, they can just turn the ball. So you have that adjustability in the light. If you do in fact need one. Things like TVs, blue light tablets, blue light, right nightlight, the type of light you’re using in the room, ambient lighting messes with your body’s natural circadian rhythm. So between four and 6am, when it’s the lightest stage of sleep, and there’s an external light source, you’re going to have problems with them regulating Oh, it’s actually still time to sleep. So you definitely want to pay attention to that. As it relates to the early mornings and making sure that there’s not external light sources that are in there for you. That could be causing that early waking temperature. So we’re going to talk a little bit about temperature babies like to be
The typical temperature for a baby that they ideally like is 68 to 72 degrees. So that is kind of where kids fall, they do tend to be on the cooler side kids like cool. So definitely check the thermostat, make sure the heats not kicking on make sure you know it’s not too cold, not too warm. I know it’s the summer months here in Philly. Like if you have AC, you know, make sure all that’s regulated because again, your body’s coldest temperature of the night is actually at 4am. And you know, depending on what the temperature looks like in the room in the space, it may be different from the house. I just had a client that was like we have an old farmhouse that gets super hot in here. And we don’t know what else to do. I actually have them install like a an on air or an on wall air conditioner. They’re not intrusive to the walls, they don’t need a window but they work beautifully. And they keep that room cool and it’s temperature controlled. So you can say hey, set this to 70 degrees and we’re good versus trying to guess with like the old school in in window units where it’s like you just crank that thing on and it goes and you walk in there it’s 40 degrees in the morning. So they can definitely be helpful as well. Now that brings up a great point right the heat kicks on the AC kicks on external noises between four and six can also be something that wake them so you know the the paper guy we have a guy every morning that drives down our road and if my husband keeps the window open at night I hear him at like four in the morning dropping one or two papers off to some of our neighbors. If you’re in a city they’re usually doing like the trash every time I go to a client and I stay in the city somewhere or you know I’m at a seminar or something speaking I the hotel never fails like I always hear the trash trucks because I’m up at 5am I always hear those trash trucks coming and dumping the the dumpsters and that stuff’s loud, right? could be your husband, your wife getting up for work, and turn the shower on the water starts going through the house and all of a sudden it’s noise either. There could be external noises you hadn’t thought of a cat creeping in a dog sniffing at the door. A dog chain my dog used to wake up and shake and his chain would shake and wake my son we started taking the collar off at bedtime. Right? So the dog doesn’t wake anybody up. He is on the Rainbow Bridge now but
but he doesn’t wake the kids up anymore. So I I suppose that’s you know, uh, when in taking the collar
off there. It’s a shame though because he was my buddy that he is on the Rainbow Bridge but he’s in a better place. Keeping them in their room. Sometimes you got to keep them in the room. Sometimes it’s a boundary right? I have a client that was giving their child an iPad so that they could sleep in. The problem is that child was then waking at 430 in the morning to use the iPad, keep technology out of the room. It is an addictive thing, right? We see it in adults all the time. I don’t take my phone to bed. You try to call me at three in the morning. I’m not answering my phone does not come in my room. There’s no texting allowed in our bedroom, I keep that with my kids as well, because I see it with clients where, you know, the kids are taking the tablets in or the phones or they’re, you know, they have all these different devices or TVs, and it creates an addiction where it’s like, well, if I’m up, I can watch. So then they start waking because they want to watch. And it creates, you know, these these bad habits around that blue light. And that the the technology that is kind of motivating them to get up early. Same with things like you know, if they wake up in the morning, and they get a special treat, or they know that when they wake, they get to watch TV downstairs or something right, like, look for the reason why they’re getting up and make sure you set boundaries, you’re not welcome to get out of that room until the clock is green. You’re not welcome to get out of that room until I come get you. Right like set a boundary and they have to stick to it. My son is not welcome to wake up. You want to get up PAL and look at the window, look at the wall, play with your selfies. I don’t really care. Don’t come out of there, because I’m going to send you right back. Right. And I think it’s important that we create those boundaries for kids. And that’s really appropriate all the way through like school age, right from four months to, you know, four or five years like setting those expectations around. When is it acceptable to get up, it just becomes an ingrained habit in kids. And you know, they understand that frankly, really well. A lot of people just naps, they adjust naps to meet the need of an early morning waking. The problem is if you wake at five, and then you force a nap because they’re tired at seven, when in reality you want them going down at nine all you’re doing is conforming and perpetuating an early morning waking and we really want to get away from that. So you want to do your best to figure out why the early morning waking is happening. A lot of times it’s overtired and do your best to not conform the nap to the waking. Rather you want to force the clock to know that first nap is happening. And again, it’s within balance. You can’t do this for a two month old right like, there there is a certain balance with it right to avoid overtired. But also not conformed to a 5am waking, you know and start looking at your structure I see a lot with kids around six months where, you know, parents are still doing three naps a day, seven months, three naps a day and early morning. wakings are creeping in, but they’re sleeping through the night. And it’s like that, that’s your cue to drop to two naps. And then that early morning waking will go away. So sometimes it’s things that are totally disconnected. And that’s where, frankly, a lot of the support I provide clients is around education with some of this because it’s not always so obvious and cut and dry. as to where the challenges are. the right amount of sleep at the right time was kind of that point I was making. Making sure that you’re you’re adjusting those transitions and doing it appropriately based on where they should be in the Facebook group. So mermaid simple, there is a whole bunch of downloads that I just posted yesterday. So depending on where you’re watching it, you want to make sure you jump into the group and grab those downloads, because there’s things around the nap timing, the structure, the number of naps, the sleep cycles, all this great content I put out there every week, so that you can be educated and informed on what your baby should be doing at the specific end right times. Also, now we’ve stuck with early morning wakings. Maybe it is time for Little Billy or little Clara to adjust their bedtime, right? They may not have to go to bed at seven o’clock anymore. If they’re four, right? Sometimes they’re sleeping too much. My son was up at 530 every single day. But I’ll tell you why. He went to bed at seven because I need time for myself at night and I go to bed at night. So he stayed with a seven o’clock bedtime. That’s what I wanted. He also napped at daycare through basically the first day of kindergarten. Okay, so now he was getting his sleep in the form of overnights and a daycare nap. So he was meeting his needs, but he was just up early. I didn’t care, I’m up at 5am, you want to get up at 530 that’s fine, you’re going to bed at seven, right? other a lot of families prefer that the kids go to bed later and sleep in. I’m an early bird, I don’t care, you want to get up at 530. Cool. But that worked for our family, everybody’s going to be different. Sometimes you do have to adjust the bedtime, though. And it takes about a week or two. So don’t give up like oh, we tried this for two nights and it didn’t work. Your body clock has to adjust. Think of it like daylight savings. So you’ve got to adjust the timing. Sometimes it’s creeping 20 minutes earlier, sometimes it’s creeping 20 minutes later, and then giving it a few days to see what the end result is in the sleep cycles. Because again, this is your body clock. And you’ve got to the timing is not just an instantaneous thing. It
takes about a week, one week for any of these changes that you’re making to truly take effect. So just know that and use your like a little bit of grace with what you’re doing to know that it’s not always going to be immediate. Okay. And finally, the last trick that you have if you’ve gone through all of these things, and you’re like, What do I do? They’re still waking and I don’t know what to do. It’s essentially a technique that we use in the sleep professional space called waking to sleep and you may think, Oh, hell no, I’m not doing that. Right. Waking to sleep means that you know, your child’s going to wake for example, at 5am. You’ve tried all this different stuff that I’ve talked about. And you still can’t figure out why they’re getting up at five but they’re visibly still tired. Okay. You have to go in, and you have to essentially do something like this on their face,
their toe, without waking them up, okay? What you need to do is stir them almost like your husband or wife, if they snore, and you elbow them, right, you want to just give them enough that they sort of flinched, but don’t wait, and then go back to that. Okay, that is called a technique of waking to sleep, that essentially resets their sleep cycle. So wherever they were, like, if they always wake at 530, you go in at about 5am and do it, and then it resets the cycle, and they’ll now sleep through that 530 waking, because what’s happening is they’re hitting a light spot, and they’re unable to transition through it. By doing that with just again, the faintest blow the lightest tickle, anything to just get them to move a little bit is going to reset the cycle. And if you do it for about three to five days, you should see that when you stop doing it now, it automatically pushes them through that cycle without them waking. So that’s my final and very helpful tip for early morning. wakings. Okay, let me go over and take a peek at the questions right now. And we can see hey, Pear, or I almost said Paris. Paris. was thinking of your analogy yesterday. So all right, we got Charisse, Casey, and Jenna, lots of good stuff coming on out here. All right. So let me see all of those great comments, keep them coming. I do unfortunately, have a hard stop today at 230. I accidentally kind of double booked myself a little bit. So I do my best to balance everything in this crazy world. And so if I don’t get to all of the questions, I am going to be doing the bonus q&a. So we’re going to have that or I can, you know, kind of come back in and respond after if I missed some of them as well in the stream here, so we’ll get you get you covered. Okay. Kara’s are thrilled isn’t taking one one and a half hour is taking one to one and a half hours to go to sleep. Should we put bedtime later, not ideal in our house 730 bedtime today. Now, I would understand again, and I forget Kerris if they’re napping or not. But I would say look at the naps. If there’s a nap happening, you need to cap it. Because it’s just impacting the sleep pressure for when they go down. If there’s no nap, and there are three and you’re doing 730, I would actually say they’re probably overtired, getting overstimulated and then struggling to settle. Also, some of it probably has to do with boundaries and setting the right boundaries. So there’s you’re not reading nine books, so that you’re not, you know, doing seven tuck ins, eight teeth brushing for parties, trips, and all that good stuff. And we’re going to talk a little bit more about that through the rest of this week. So definitely stay tuned for that. daycare naps, okay. Yeah. Usually, they will not wake them early. They are usually also sleeping till about three o’clock. So it that can kind of again, it kind of depends on the daycare on what they’re willing to do. But sometimes it is where like a conversation with the director to say like, Hey, can we have her be the last one to go down? Or, you know, can we adjust the schedule in some capacity. I had this happen with the client actually at my daycare. And they were kind of unwilling to do it at the Goddard to do anything with it. The days where they didn’t nap, bedtime was a breeze, the days where they did like nap. It was still like this battle that we kind of got through, I would say 90%. But there’s just still so much energy because they napped for two and a half hours, there was nothing, you know, we can really do. And so actually, it hit right at the time that COVID hit. So it was perfect, because we kind of were able to avoid it go further. The little one is Andrew and great. No naps anymore. And it’s gone to bed very easily at bedtime. So. So I would say start there. Casey, what’s the best way to create boundaries for toddlers? When you hear the infamous No. So you have to set the boundary Casey and then you have to stick to it. Right? That’s the hardest part. And typically, the part parents miss is the consequence component of this. So what you want to do is make sure you’re setting expectations we will read one book and then we are going to lay quietly and go to sleep. You know, sometimes it has to do also with like, I want another drink, I want to go
potty and you have to put the kibosh down and also try to eliminate some of the easy hits here tissues, blow your own nose, here’s a sippy cup, it won’t spill, you’re allowed to go to the potty one time. And then I incorporate things like rewards and consequences, right? Your choice is to lay quietly and go to sleep or there’s a consequence to that action, and it’s going to be something they don’t like because that’s how behavior changes. Right? If they wanted a brownie for breakfast at 3am or excuse me at 6am they wanted a brownie for breakfast. You’re not going to give it to him, right? What’s going to ensue is a hissy fit. So, um, you know, there’s gonna be a couple days of the hissy fit, and then they stop asking for brownies at breakfast. Same thing around bedtime. So I would, you know, I would start there for, you know, for the the three year old as far as the struggles around bedtime incorporate consequences. And it has to be a consequence that they’re not going to like not not something that’s like you’re not going to grandma’s next Saturday because they don’t care. It’s it’s like too far ahead that they’re not going to make the connection. All right, Jenna, he was able to oops, hold on. I’m sorry. I think you were messaging me to through private messenger. So I’m going to come back to you, Jenna through private messenger, just because there’s kind of a long history there. With some of the other comments. I’m not seeing all of them for some reason. I see there are 17 of them. But it’s not showing me all of them. So I apologize. I’m not sure what’s going on. Let me go to first Miss Eva. wondering about the final week window. My two month old week windows are approximately an hour and 20 minutes and has four naps? I’m not sure when to put her down after the final nap. Yeah. So it’s actually going to be pretty consistent Eva, with a two month old, I would say depending on the duration of the other naps throughout the day, the week window for a two month old. So that’s about eight weeks, right? is going to be somewhere around I would say about 90 minutes or so. That you know it should be roughly Yeah, an hour and a half that that I mean, that makes sense. Yeah, but 90 minutes, hour and a half hour 20. So you want to stick with that for the bedtime as well. Now, if you’re supporting her going to sleep, you want to make sure that you’re affording the right amount of time to let her settle on her own for sleep. So that you’re not creating the bad prop associations, but at the same time not getting her into overtired. So it may mean like laying her down at an hour and 15. And given her a few minutes to kind of get comfortable there. You can be in there to support her kind of give her a little head rub little gentle belly pressure something to help her get down without like support. And, you know, and just watch those awake windows. And definitely take a look at the downloads from yesterday. There is like a sample breakout that I put in the comments. It’s an Excel, or excuse me, it’s a PDF that has all of the breakouts for the ages. And then I will make a note here to tag you in that as well. So I apologize guys,
do have to jump for another meeting. And I’m already two minutes late. And I typically reserve the whole hour for this. But I screwed up and I’m sorry, and I’m not perfect. So here’s how I’m going to do. I’m going to take all the questions that are in here and I will reply back to you at some point later today in the chat feed here. And then I am going to post a bonus q&a as well so that I can make sure all your questions are answered. And then everybody’s feeling good as you know the week progresses with making actionable steps. Okay, so again, I look forward to answering all these questions. If you have any more that are outstanding, pop them in there because I’m going to go back in and answer all of them in just a little bit. I’m going to jump to my other meeting now. I hope you found this session helpful around early morning wakings. And I look forward to seeing you tomorrow as we dive into what really sleep training means it’s going to be an exciting action packed one. So we’ll see you tomorrow. Stay tuned. Bye for now, hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.