No parent wants to start their day before 6am. Even waking up before 7am is pushing it! Unfortunately, early rising is a very common problem with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. This episode is going to take you through the most common culprits of early rising, as well as how to fix them so that your little one starts waking at later hour!
Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Hi everyone, so today I’m going to be talking all about early rising, namely, what causes it and what you can do about it, because it is probably the biggest and most common sleep issue out there. It’s such a pain. I mean, there is nothing worse than getting woken up at five o’clock in the morning when you’re probably in the middle of a really fantastic dream. And now you have to start your day at the crack of Dawn. There is nothing worse now for better or for worse. It’s a very common sleep issue out there. That is probably the most common challenge that families ask me for advice for, because the reason why it’s so common is because at that time of night, we are all in a very light stage of sleep where we can easily get awoken. And what that means is that, and I’m going to be a little bit sleep nerdy here for a second, in terms of sleep science language, there’s something called external homeostatic sleep pressure, which basically is this external force that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep.
Homeostatic sleep pressure is very strong at bedtime. And during those first few hours of the nights, and then as the night goes on, it gets weaker and weaker. And so by that four to 6:00 AM, Mark sleep pressure is very, very weak. And so what it means practically is that if there is something remotely off with your little ones, sleep habits, then, and we’re going to talk about what some of those might look like. Then it’s going to be very easy for your little one to get a woken because that sleep pressure that was helping him stay asleep at midnight is now no longer there at five o’clock in the morning. So I want to take you guys through some of the most common causes of early rising and what you can do about it. So, because number one is that your little one’s room is too light.
If you don’t have heavy duty black up lines in your little one’s room, make a beeline for home Depot or heck just put some garbage bags up and get your little one’s room as dark as possible. You want your little one’s room during daytime hours, and especially in those early morning hours to be like a nine out of 10 in terms of darkness, because when there is too much light coming into your little one’s room, then that is going to make it significantly harder for your little one to stay asleep. Because light suppresses your little one’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone that makes you sleepy. And so when we expose ourselves to either natural or artificial lights, when it, when we should be sleeping, it’s actually going to tell our bodies that it is time to wake up when we should actually be going back to sleep.
And so if you’re living somewhere where it is still summer, or the sun happens to rise, you know, very early or earlier than you would like our little ones to be up, then that’s where investing. That’s why investing in some heavy duty blackout blinds is absolutely crucial here. So that’s caused number one, that your little one’s room is just two lights and that you need to get some heavy duty blackout blinds. And by the way, we usually need to combine two blackout products together, a blackout curtain, as well as a blackout roller blinds. So that together we get ourselves an optimal darkness level because typically one blackout product by itself usually only makes the room maybe a five or a six out of 10, and to get to a nine out of 10, we need those two blackout products. So that’s factor number one, factor.
Number two, that is very well known for causing early rising is over tiredness. And I know this might seem a little bit confusing. Like why would my little one not getting enough sleep, causes him to wake up prematurely at night and I’ll explain to you why? Because it doesn’t coincide with common sense. Common sense would dictate that if you’re a little one doesn’t nap, well during the day, or goes to bed too late, that that’s going to cause him to just sleep in the next day, right? It’s actually the opposite because you see when your little one is overtired, because they’re not napping enough during the day. They’re up for periods of time that are too long, or they’re going to bed too late from a sleep science standpoint. What happens is it causes their cortisol levels to go up. Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted by your nervous system.
When we become overtired or when our little ones become overtired. For that matter, we all fight sleep because it makes it significantly harder for us to fall asleep and stay asleep. And so what goes on during the day directly impacts what happens at night. And so if your little one usually naps twice a day and she skipped her afternoon nap, guess what? That can cause her to wake up at five o’clock in the morning for the day, which I know sounds crazy. It sounds like it doesn’t make sense whatsoever, but that’s actually how it plays out. And so over tiredness is caused by some very specific things. So number one, if your little one is not napping enough. And so I would encourage you all to really educate yourselves on how much daytime sleep your little one needs so that you make sure that she is napping when she needs to be napping.
And then the second thing that you want to be on top of is how long your little one can likely be up for in between. Sleeps. The answer to that question is going to vary from baby to baby based on how old your little one is and the amount of time that your little one can be up four, also known as awake period or awake window is not going to remain the same forever, right? Because as your baby gets older, she will naturally be able to stay up for longer periods of time being on top of what kind of wake periods your little one can pull off so that she’s not up for periods of time that are too long, becomes over tired, and then ends up waking up at the crack of Dawn for the day. That’s going to really help you. The third very common factor known to cause early rising is if your little one has weak self-soothing skills, what do I mean if your little one relies on something external, like feeding, rocking, someone lying down next to her until either she falls asleep or until she gets very sleepy, then it means that her self soothing skills, her independent sleep skills are going to be on the weaker side.
And the reason why this can cause early rising is because remember, as the night goes on external homeostatic sleep pressure becomes weaker and weaker. And so at five o’clock in the morning when sleep pressure is pretty much non-existence, your little one is going to rely on two things to be able to stay asleep. Number one, she’s going to rely on her sleep skills or number two, she will rely on a sleep crutch of some kind like feeding or rocking to go back to sleep. And if neither of those will do the trick option, number three is that she will wake up prematurely and just not be able go back to sleep. And so if your little one does not know how to sleep independently and you are sick and tired of starting your day at five o’clock in the morning, part of the solution is going to have to involve teaching your little one, how to sleep independently throughout the night so that when 5:00 AM comes around and external sleep pressure is gone and her sleep skills are not strong enough to keep her asleep.
That sleep training will finally be able to do the trick and her sleep skills will be strong enough to be able to keep herself asleep in those very early morning hours. Because if you are noticing that your little one can stay asleep, no problem in the first half of the night. And then things tend to fall apart as the night goes on. That’s exactly why because the external sleep pressure is not able to help your little one stay asleep as much in the second half of the night as it can in the first half. Now the fourth and final reason why your little one is likely waking up at the crack of Dawn is because of habit. So maybe, maybe one of those first three factors was applicable to your little one. Maybe she, maybe the room was too light or she was overtired, or she didn’t have strong, independent sleep skills.
And you began responding by feeding her at five o’clock in the morning by rocking her by bringing her into bed. Or maybe she’s a little bit older. Maybe you began giving her the iPad or turning on the TV. What this all does is it instills a strongly ingrained habit where her internal alarm clock wakes up at five o’clock in the morning and expects that exact response, a feed, you know, nursing a bottle, the TV, the iPad to be brought into bed with you, something just because that became her song and dance that became her new routine or her new habit. And so in order for us to fix that problem, we need to undo that habit and introduce new habits. Because as long as you continue to bring your little one into bed or feed her or rock her or give her the iPad at five o’clock in the morning, guess what we are all creatures of habit, babies and kids are no different.
They’re going to expect that exact same, same response. And so the solution here needs to be, to treat 5:00 AM no differently than any other, other than any other part of the nights. And so if you are implementing a sleep training plan, then you want to be treating 5:00 AM no differently than how you treat 1:00 AM. And so what you definitely need to is stop rewarding. The 5:00 AM wake up. So more 5:00 AM feeds. No we’re bringing care into your bed, no more turning on the TV for her or giving her the iPad because otherwise that habit is just going to end up continuing. So to sum up here are four very common factors that contribute and cause early rising factor. Number one, the room is too late. Factor. Number two, your little one is overtired factor. Number three, your little one has weak self-soothing skills and factor.
Number four, your little one is habitually waking up at the crack of Dawn. Now I just want to emphasize that more often than not when you’ve got a strongly ingrained early rising problem, there’s usually more than one culprit. And so chances are, I’d say nine out of 10 times. Most of these early rising issues are caused by at least two of those factors. So when you’re listening to this episode, I don’t want you to be thinking, is it either, or it’s likely not an either or situation. I want you to assess each of those factors independently and think could any one of those be applicable and it’s possible that all four of them are applicable, but the reality is that early rising with the right plan in place is very, very fixable. As long as the sleep plan is correct, and it’s implemented consistently. So I hope that this was helpful, you all, and that you all have a wonderful day.
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Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @myseleepingbaby, or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful night.