When people talk about ‘split nights,’ they are normally referring to their child waking and taking several hours before they eventually go back to sleep. Often with a split night, your child may seem quite content, alert and whatever you do, you can’t seem to send them back off to sleep.
So what causes a split night and what can we do?
There are a few possibilities to consider.
- Balance of daytime sleep – too much daytime sleep. If your little one is having more daytime sleep than they need, this can result is them being more wakeful at night. Then they catch up during the day and the cycle continues. Please note this doesn’t apply to young babies who need lots of daytime sleep to feel rested and not become overtired.
- Going to bed too early. Perhaps baby seemed really fussy, or didn’t nap well so you put them to bed early – this can mean that when they do wake in the night, they wake feeling fully rested and ready to start the day. This will be compounded if each night bedtime creeps earlier and earlier.
- Learning a new skill – all babies go through developmental changes, and they can often practice these skills at night. New skills such as rolling or crawling can be fun to do when they wake (not so fun for the parents !) Have patience and this phase will pass. Make sure they have lots of opportunity to practice these skills in the day.
- Maybe baby is ready for a nap transition. Its really common that split nights can manifest when your baby is getting ready to drop one of their naps. Their daytime sleep requirement has dropped, but their daytime routine hasn’t quite kept up.
- Baby doesn’t fall asleep independently. While some babies can be assisted to sleep and have a settled night, many others will wake up searching for what it was that got them to sleep. Once they have slept for a few hours, they find it harder to get to sleep than they did at the beginning of the night. Practicing independent sleep skills can help.
- Parents intervening too soon. If your baby is happily playing, cooing or crawling around – its ok to leave them. Sometimes when we rush in and they aren’t asking us, they think its playtime. Giving them the space to get themselves back to sleep is a good place to start. If they become upset then of course comfort them, but don’t resort to taking them out of their bedroom, watching tv or playing. This can perpetuate the wake up.
Want more support with your child’s sleep?
If you would like to learn more about sleep and have guidance on how you can approach achieving a predictable routine and well-rested night’s sleep then check out our online courses.
Available from newborn to 4 years old, our courses are designed to help you learn how you can support your child to sleep better.
We share all the information you need to help you really understand your little one’s sleep and how to help them achieve more predictable naps and restful nights – all from your own computer, phone or tablet whenever it suits you.
Early Days & Foundations of Sleep: 0-5 Months
This course will teach you how you can work towards great sleep habits, without ‘sleep training.’ It provides gentle solutions for settling and works towards the end goal of a settled night’s sleep, whilst understanding and responding to your baby’s needs.
Sleep Success: 6-9 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 10-18 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine, the transition from two naps to one and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 1.5 – 4 years
This course which covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, potential sleep disturbances in this age group, a suggested daily routine, the transition from cot to bed, dropping the daytime nap, early waking and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan.