Updated at: 18-05-2022 - By: Jane

Isn’t the first hour of a child’s day the most precious?

Yes, nap time is bang on the mark.

Naptime is one of our favorite times of the day as parents because it gives us some much-needed alone time to get things done. It also means that we can get some much-needed sleep now that the holidays are over!

Short Naps vs. Long Naps

When it comes to nap length, there is a clear distinction between a short and long one. Less than 45-minute sessions are often shorter, whereas more than 90-minute sessions are typically longer. Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults, which is why a short nap is only one full sleep cycle, whereas a longer nap is two or more full sleep cycles long. Even though every baby is unique, you can use a few general criteria as a guide to determine if you’re allowing baby enough sleep or making naptime more difficult for yourself than it has to be.

How to Extend Your Baby's Short Naps (9 simple steps)

But what happens if our beautiful bundles don’t get enough sleep? Scheduling our own lives becomes more difficult because of this, and it also deprives young children of the recuperative time they require to grow and learn.

To assist you encourage newborns to sleep longer, we’ve compiled a list of the most often asked questions regarding how to get babies to sleep better during the day and night.

To begin, it’s important to understand that sleep cycles for newborns can be unpredictable. For a while, they may have a day/night reversal, sleeping most of the time during the day and waking up in the middle of the night to go out. These rhythms begin to function correctly between the ages of one and three months, although regular sleep schedules do not form until the age of six months.

Sleep is essential for infants between the ages of four and twelve months. This includes a good night’s sleep as well as two to three naps a day—a quick morning nap, a lengthier afternoon nap, and a late afternoon catnap. Their daytime naps will become longer and longer as they grow older, and by the time they are between 12 and 18 months old, they will only take one big nap each day.

Benefits of Naps for Babies & Toddlers


In the same way that adults’ brains process and consolidate information while they sleep, newborns’ brains do the same. A nap has been shown to improve test scores for both children and adults. The principle of memory is the same. A study of 6- to 12-month-old babies found that allowing them to nap right after acquiring new material improved their performance on cognitive tests the following day by an average of 17%. Furthermore, both the control and test groups of infants slept comfortably the night before, making this even more persuasive evidence. It’s possible that the babies that performed best in the exams had an hour-plus snooze during the day.


The growth and development of infants and toddlers is rapid. Have you ever wondered if your child had grown an inch in the blink of an eye? Babies require a lot of sleep in order to develop to their greatest potential. Napping during the day should be a regular occurrence. When you’re asleep for long periods of time, your body is repairing itself and growing new cells. If your baby or toddler is only having brief naps, they are missing out on crucial time for development.


It’s true that a grouchy child is a sleep-deprived child. The same principle holds true for adults, so this revelation comes as no surprise. But if your infant is screaming and wailing in the middle of the supermarket, that’s not just a sign that they’re tired; it’s a signal that they’re over-tired. In addition to making your child grumpier, short naps also cause them to react less strongly to positive situations when they are tired. Make long naps a priority if you want to ensure that you and your baby get the most out of life’s pleasant moments.

Better Sleep at Night

There is little doubt that a grouchy child is a sleep-deprived child. Adults have the same problem, so this finding isn’t a shock. It’s not only a symptom that your baby is tired if they are crying and weeping in the midst of the supermarket; it’s a sign that they are too tired. When your child is sleep-deprived, they are less likely to react emotionally to positive occurrences, which might be a side effect of short naps. Make long naps a priority if you want to make the most of the wonderful moments in your life with your baby.

9 Nap Training Steps to Lengthen Your Baby’s Short Naps

Step 1: Fix baby’s night sleep

“Wait a minute,” I thought. What does my baby’s naptime have to do with my nighttime sleep? Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

We always begin with nighttime sleep when trying to improve the quality of sleep for babies. We do this because getting a good night’s sleep at night is much easier than getting a good nap during the day.

Changing your baby’s nighttime routine is easier because his desire to sleep is strongest at this time of day. It’s a different story at night. As with all things, the desire to fall asleep comes and goes.

Nap training will be nearly impossible if your infant is overtired and grumpy as a result of being awake all night. The reason for this is that a well-rested baby is more likely to fall asleep than a sleep-deprived one. It’s much easier to convince your kid to nap longer if he sleeps well at night and is well-rested and content. Although it defies logic, it is true!

“Sleeping well” generally refers to the fact that your infant spends most of the night asleep! For babies 6 months and older, this implies that your baby either sleeps through the night or has 1-2 night feeds where he rapidly falls back to sleep and sleeps long stretches. There may be more nighttime feedings for younger babies, but they settle down quickly afterward.

If your baby is awake and difficult to settle for long periods of time at night, I recommend you pause nap training and instead work on night sleep. My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit guides you through the essential steps of setting your baby up to sleep well at night.

Step 2: Keep an eye on baby’s awake times

To help your kid get a good night’s sleep, I recommend suspending nap training and instead focusing on getting them to sleep at night. My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit teaches you how to get your baby to sleep through the night.

Your kid may not be ready for a sleep if he or she spends too little time in the open air.

The longer your baby is awake, the more likely he or she is to become overtired or overstimulated.

In order to keep your infant awake and alert, the body releases stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. Once the release of these hormones occurs, it is quite difficult for the baby to relax and go asleep.

Baby & newborn sleep routines: a guide | Raising Children Network

Following age-appropriate awake times is an important step in nap training. There are occasions when altering the baby’s waking and sleeping timings will help him sleep longer!

Baby Awake Times:

  • 30-90 minutes for a newborn
  • Seventeen to twenty-five weeks: one to two hours
  • 2 hours a week for 4 months:
  • 2 to 3 hours a day for six to eight months
  • Between 9 and 12 months: 2.5 to 3.5 hours
  • Toddlers napping for 3-4 hours twice a day.
  • One nap for the toddler 4 to 5 hrs.

Step 3: Fill the belly

Having a full stomach helps babies sleep more soundly. There is nothing worse than a hungry baby waking up early from a nap. Your infant should be fed within 20-30 minutes of going to sleep.

Step 4: Create a nap-friendly space

Non-motion sleep away from the day’s distractions is the most restorative sleep for older babies and toddlers.

Wherever you put your baby to sleep, they’ll likely be able to sleep. Sleeping in a light living room or in the baby carrier for an hour doesn’t appear to impede their ability to do so.

However, around the age of four months, your baby undergoes a major developmental shift. As a result of this development, sleep patterns shift as well. I describe this in detail in my 4 month sleep regression guide, which you can access here.

Sleeping arrangements for your infant are suddenly becoming less flexible. It’s possible she’ll wake up early from naps, refuse to take naps, or otherwise be restless. So, if you’re wondering, “Why does my kid suddenly take short naps or fight naps?” read on for more information. So, here’s the deal:

In order to help her have a good night’s sleep, it’s necessary to create a comparable sleeping environment for her throughout the day. All of the things that help her sleep at night will also help her sleep better during the day.

How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night is a step-by-step guide for tired moms that shows you just how to accomplish this goal.

Every time your youngster takes a nap, give him or her a sleep-friendly place. This will help her sleep better and longer in the long run because it delivers the best quality and most restorative sleep. Eventually

If baby needs to occasionally nap in the stroller (lying flat, not upright) that’s ok too. If your infant is unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, this could be an excellent solution.

Step 5: Start a calming pre-nap routine

If baby needs to occasionally nap in the stroller (lying flat, not upright) that’s ok too. If your infant is unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, this could be an excellent solution.

Incorporate some of your bedtime ritual into a pre-nap routine that is short and soothing. As soon as your child sees this pattern, he or she will know that sleep follows.

In my Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit, you’ll learn how to build a peaceful sleep regimen.

Step 6: Keep your baby’s nap schedule consistent

Routine is essential for children’s well-being. This helps your kid sleep longer since his body clock is set to sleep at the same time each day.

A by-the-clock nap plan is best for kids who are at least 6-7 months old, whereas younger babies like to nap according to their waking hours.

It’s not necessary to have a detailed nap schedule! Your ideal daily plan should be simple to follow and allow for some degree of flexibility, while yet satisfying your baby’s sleep and eating requirements.

Your daily schedule will be more manageable if you stick to a regular nap schedule.

If your child is in daycare, stick to the same nap pattern they do. Because your baby’s body has been accustomed to resting at the same time each day, it will be easier for her to fall asleep.

There are examples of sleep routines for children aged six months to four years in my Daily Schedules & Developmental Activities Guide In addition, it contains play ideas and toys for development that may be used by children of all ages.

Step 7: Get your baby falling asleep independently

Isn’t it puzzling that your baby’s naps are so brief? Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. The average sleep cycle for a baby lasts 50 minutes. If your baby wakes up 45 minutes after falling asleep, it’s because she’s ended one sleep cycle and needs your help initiating a new one.

Props and settings we require in order to relax and drift off to sleep are referred to as “sleep associations.” You can help your baby sleep if she associates being rocked or breastfed with falling asleep. Because of your efforts, she’s become comfortable with you helping her fall asleep.

This is perfectly OK! It’s only that when she wakes up early from a nap, she’ll need your support to get back to sleep. After a short nap, it can be difficult for a baby to go back to sleep. Because they’ve obtained some rest, they’re less motivated to go asleep. They may have woken up feeling rested and rejuvenated!

You should begin teaching your child to fall asleep on her own if this is the case. Replace sleep associations that rely on you with new ones that don’t, such as a lovey (for older children) or falling asleep in her own bed (rather than in your arms.)

It will be easier for you to fall back to sleep when your baby wakes up after a 40-minute nap. She is fully capable of completing the task on her own. Your baby’s short naps can be greatly improved by following this step.

My nap training program teaches you how to get your baby to fall asleep on their own and take long, restful naps.

Step 8: Begin a “nap power hour”

If your baby’s naps are getting too short, this is your go-to method for extending them. However, it only works if you’re also following the previous steps.

Your baby will stay in her bed for one hour, even if she gets up early, as long as she goes down for a nap.

That way, she learns that just because she’s awake doesn’t mean nap time is over. When your baby wakes up early from a nap, there are various things you may do to help her settle down.

You’ll learn about the “nap power hour” and how to pick a sleep training strategy that’s right for your child in my nap training course.

Step 9: Stay consistent

Once your baby has mastered the art of napping like a pro, try your best to maintain the same schedule for him every day (yes, even on weekends.) When it comes to napping, babies are just as fast to forget good habits as they are to learn them!

Give top priority to your baby’s need for daytime napping. Invite your friends over instead of risking your well-earned nap time by going out. Some of your baking skills may require some work (and clean the bathrooms). As it turns out, you can actually cook and clean if your baby is napping well.

Bonus tip: Remember the big picture

Take a step back and take a look at the big picture if you’re worried about your baby’s short nap times.

For a week, monitor your baby’s sleep patterns (day and night). Does he receive enough rest in a 24-hour period? Your baby may choose to sleep longer at night if he takes short naps, but he still sleeps 14-15 hours a day (and is happy and prospering).

Step-By-Step Gentle Sleep Coaching Program


When do babies start taking longer naps?

Between the ages of four and six months, you’ll begin to see lengthier naps occur. It’s time to use some of the sleep techniques we discussed in this post if your baby is six months old and still waking up after 30- to 45-minute napping sessions.

What to do when my baby wakes early from a nap?

The first step is to see if your child is fully awake or if they are still a little groggy. Try to put them back to sleep if they’ve already woken up, and you’ll both be unhappy. But if they’re still sleepy, you might be able to calm them down enough to get them back to sleep. Put them back in their cot and rock or cuddle them until they fall asleep. A pacifier, darkening the room or adjusting the temperature may be necessary.

The first time you try to put your baby back to sleep after he or she has peed through the diaper, be aware that he or she will be awake and alert.

Where should my baby nap during the day?

As a rule of thumb, you should keep your infant in the same spot where he or she sleeps during the night. Sleep training becomes more difficult if you don’t do this. Stay away from the swing if you don’t want them to fall asleep in it. As soon as they begin to nod off, have them return to their usual sleeping location. Making a routine out of napping in a stroller or car seat isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it will make getting a good night’s sleep more difficult in the future if you do it regularly.

How many naps does my baby need?

As soon as your kid is six months old, you’ll notice that he or she need two to four lengthier nap periods per day. Sleeping more frequently and for shorter periods of time is necessary prior to this. At 12 months of age, you can start consolidating the doses, and by 18 months of age, you should be down to just one daily dose. These are only some broad guidelines. Remember that each child is unique and should be treated as such. If you have any additional concerns, make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician.


It’s up to you, parents. Even if your baby’s sleep patterns are a mystery to you because they can’t talk and tell you what they’re thinking, you’ll discover that things are easier now that you know the best practices. A routine that both you and your kid are comfortable with can be established over time. There is still time!

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