As you may be aware early morning awakenings has a lot to do with what happened the day before, and often it can lead to a catch 22 situation where you child has a poor night’s sleep then sleeps badly during the day.


An early riser generally wakes at 5am as this is the time their sleep cycle settles down during the night and your child then remains in a light sleep for the rest of the early morning. Therefore if your child is overtired going to bed they generally wake at this time. This is due to the child’s body becoming stressed due to overtiredness which can then lead to “Cortisol” being released, which acts like adrenaline. This can prevent children from getting to sleep/sleeping peacefully and/or cause early awakenings. As your child is in a light sleep in the morning time, it does not take a whole lot to rouse them fully, therefore if they are overtired they will wake as the brain is working to keep your child awake. They also tend to go back into a deep sleep after this light phase. So, if you don’t persist, you will find your little one will lose out on 2hrs sleep each night (that’s one full nights sleep in a week), as will you!!!


We all get set on a bedtime, however we need to change the bedtime if your child is awakening at 5am. Children up until at least 3 need 12 hours sleep approximately at night therefore I strongly advise you to aim to have your children asleep by 7pm. (7.30 latest)


When your child awakes early in the morning as there will be a certain amount of habit mixed in you need to be consistent in your approach, otherwise your child will not really know what to expect, they won’t know if you are going to pick them up or leave them be, this can be frightening for a child. You may need to prepare yourselves for a week or two to get up at 5am and try resettling your child until it is time to start the day.


Niamh O’Reilly has been working professionally with babies and children for the past 11 years. However, her experience goes back at least 20 years. She is a qualified and highly experienced Nursery Nurse and Sleep Consultant and is fully in tune to meeting the needs of parents and children/infants in order to create a home-life that works to individual family needs. Niamh delivers attentive, professional advice in a warm yet practical manner. Her calm and relaxed approach will immediately put you at ease and her techniques and tools can be easily tailored.  Niamh has appeared on National TV and Radio a number of times and contributes regularly to many of Irelands leading Parenting Magazines.  Niamh is the Sleep Expert for how to keep your baby asleep through the night

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