Short Naps: Why they can happen and how you can help your baby nap for longer

baby taking short naps, how to help baby nap longer

Baby naps – those precious moments in the day that can feel like gold dust to exhausted parents.

Naps can feel tricky, and it can take some time to find a day time rhythm that works well for your baby. 

In this blog we’ll share some insights and practical tips to help extend those all-important baby naps.

Firstly, let's talk about catnapping.

Some babies take short naps and are genuinely well slept, but for others, it can be a sign that some tweaks to their sleep could be helpful. 

It can indicate that your baby is struggling to fall asleep independently or fully rousing between their sleep cycles. This often results in them waking up before they are ready and either need some help from you to settle back down, or they won’t settle back to sleep.

One common culprit behind short naps is timing...

Something I see really often, with the families I work with, are naps that are happening a little too early. Parents sometimes think their baby is tired when, in fact, they may need to be awake for longer periods between naps. 

It may also be that their baby’s sleep needs have changed (perhaps they are getting ready to drop a nap) and nap timings need some adjustments to keep up.

Understanding your baby’s sleep cues and adjusting their nap schedule accordingly can make a world of difference in extending the length of their nap.

Are they tired, or just simply bored or need a change of scene? If it is taking them a long time to go down for a nap, perhaps consider that they weren’t ready yet?

Our online sleep courses include suggested routines for each age group, to help you find a routine that suits your baby or toddler.

Download Your Free Nap Transitions Guide

Learn the signs that your little one is ready to drop a nap and how to approach it.

Download Your Free Nap Transitions Guide

Learn the signs that your little one is ready to drop a nap and how to approach it.

Creating the right sleep environment is also key.

Investing in blackout blinds can help block out external light and create a conducive atmosphere for longer, more restful naps.

Some babies are more sensitive to their environment than others – for those babies with fomo (fear of missing out!), a darkened room can really help.

The more effective strategy for extending baby naps is establishing a predictable, age-appropriate routine. 

A predictable routine...

On of the most common ways for tackling short naps, is creating a predictable routine that suits your baby. 

Babies thrive on consistency, and having a structured daily schedule can help regulate their sleep patterns and encourage longer naps. Incorporating calming activities such as reading or cuddles before nap time can signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

How they fall asleep...

Another game-changer for extending your baby’s naps is helping you little one to settle themselves off to sleep. Babies who have fall asleep independently are often more likely to transition between sleep cycles and take longer naps.

It can take some time and patience to help your baby fall asleep in a new way (and you can do this at their own pace), it an make a big difference in making naps a little longer.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – does extending baby naps mean being confined to the house all day? Absolutely not!

 While it’s important to prioritize your baby’s sleep needs, it’s also possible to strike a balance between nap time and daily activities. The key is to provide your baby with opportunities to nap when they need to, whether it’s at home in their crib or on the go in a stroller or carrier.

Ultimately, every baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s essential to remain flexible and responsive to your baby’s individual sleep cues and needs. With patience, consistency, and a bit of trial and error, you can help your little one master the art of a longer nap – giving both of you the precious rest you deserve.

In our online sleep courses, we cover all of these topics, plus lots more, to help you find a routine that works for your little one as well as different approaches you can use to help your baby or toddler settle to sleep in a new way. You have access to them for as long as you need, so you can go at your own pace and always have the guides there to help you.

Ready For Better Sleep?

Join 45,000+ parents who have helped their baby’s and toddler’s sleep better with our instant access sleep courses. Created by Infant Sleep Consultants so you can have more predictable naps, easier bedtimes and a more settled night’s sleep.

Ready For Better Sleep?

Join 45,000+ parents who have helped their baby’s and toddler’s sleep better with our instant access sleep courses. Created by Infant Sleep Consultants so you can have more predictable naps, easier bedtimes and a more settled night’s sleep.