Baby wakes so early in the morning…however you may want to describe it, early morning wakings can be hard on any parents especially when you have other children to tend to or when you need to be fully recharged for a day in the office. In order for us to understand why your child seems to have a built-in timer set to wake at the early hours of the morning, we need to dig a bit deeper into how humans are wired and how sleep actually works.
Getting the chemistry right
The first thing we could look at is melatonin and how this chemical plays a role in a good night’s sleep. Melatonin is what gets our bodies ready for bed and helps us unwind from our busy schedule during the day and signals our bodies that it’s time to rest. We also have another hormone called cortisol that acts as a stimulant (also released during times of stress) to help our body’s wake up. Cortisol is usually released 3 hours before you wake up.
The Sleep Cycle
So you now understand the cycle in which the hormones work to help you get to sleep as well as wake you up. If your baby’s natural waking time is at 6am, then 3am would be around the time when your baby starts producing cortisol. When your baby is able to self-soothe, this 3am waking will no longer be an issue much like we do as adults. For those babies who still rely on someone or something to get them back to sleep, this is the time when they would have their early morning meltdowns.
So, how do you fix this?
Unfortunately there is no quick fix if your child has not mastered the skills of independently sleeping. A child who consistently awakes during the night and cannot go back to sleep with some sort of support in the form of sleep prop etc., has to still learn the skill of sleeping independently.
I won’t get your hopes up and say you can fix this in one night, but I can assure you that it can be fixed and your child’s sleep is not a lost cause!
Here are some tips to help your baby sleep better and prevent the 3am parent nightmares:
- To help your child sleep better, make sure their sleep environment is one that promotes sleep. Ensure that minimal amounts of light can get it. Remember, darkness is associated with melatonin production
- Ensure that your child is not too warm or too cold.
- Try as best to stick to a sleep schedule. Children thrive on consistency.
- And last but not least, the most important thing – help your child master the skill of sleeping independently so they are able to get the sleep they need to flourish
If you’re not sure about how you can get your child to sleep independently or if you have any other sleep concerns, let’s connect and allow me to support you.
You can schedule a free sleep evaluation call so we can identify your areas of concern.