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Why your child wakes so early – and how to prevent it

It’s one of the most common reasons people come to me for help. Not just because we’d all love a lie in! But because parents are concerned that their children aren’t getting enough restful and restorative sleep. And we all know just how much sleep deprivation can make or break a day. Right?!

So, I’m going to let you into why this happens. And I’m going to show how I have helped hundreds of tired and anxious parents prevent early morning rising…for good.

First of all, there could be a number of reasons your child is waking early, but mostly they are:

• Overtiredness - due to not getting enough daytime sleep

• Too much daytime sleep - meaning they need less night time sleep

• Going to bed too late - until 2 years, bedtime should be based on when your child wakes from their previous nap

• Changes in development - crawling, rolling, pulling to stand, speech, practising new skills 

• Habit - changes in night time sleep could occur due to illness, teething or development and sleep may not revert back to normal when that phase is over

So, now you know why – how do you help your child?

Nap gaps 

Having a good understanding of nap gaps and how much your child needs in a 24 hour period is absolutely key. This guide to how much sleep your child needs might help, but please try optimise daytime naps and schedule them depending on the individual needs of your child. That’s what holistic sleep coaching is all about – there is no one size fits all. Every child and family is different. Drop me a quick message here and I’ll get back in touch to chat to you about nap gaps and your child. 


The most common cause of early wakings is that a bedtime that is too late which leads to poor quality sleep, including premature wakings. The best quality sleep occurs the first half of the night, so the more of it your child can get, the better they will sleep the entire night. 

Environmental factors

What’s the room temperature like where your child is sleeping? How about the lighting in the room? Is the space too noisy or even too quiet? This could be birds tweeting or the heating coming on. You could introduce white noise, or pink noise after 6 months. 


Diet and nutrition is another huge factor which is directly related to your child’s sleep, and you may not even realise it. Small, simple changes in your child’s diet can transform their sleep. When I work with families like yours, optimising daytime nutrition is something we always work into our plan. 


If you’d like to prevent early morning rising, age appropriate daily exercise as well as exposure to broad-spectrum daylight is crucial. Once again, this should be based on the needs of your child. If you’d like to know more about exercise and daylight and how this affects your child’s sleep, please ask me. I’m happy to answer any of your questions.  

Sleep is a natural process and we all know how to sleep. But good sleeping habits have to be developed. 

When consulting with a family, I always look at how much sleep their child is achieving in a 24 hour period - including the proportion of daytime sleep verses night time sleep. 

I compare this with the total amount of recommended sleep for that age group and after carrying out a holistic assessment, I’m then able to ascertain whether or not there is a sleep deficit.

Often, by simply addressing daytime naps and optimising nutrition, will bring about a huge change.

If you’d like to learn more or chat about your little one’s sleep, please get in touch for a no-obligation initial consultation.

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