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I'm a mom of two and certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant.

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Common Reasons for Early Morning Wakings

Feb 1, 2023

One of the most common sleep challenges I see parents struggle with when it comes to their toddler’s sleep are early morning wakings and more often than not it is a toddler. An early morning waking is a wake up that occurs between 4-6 AM and it’s as if your child is wide awake and ready to party! Let’s talk about the most common reasons why your child wakes up before 6 AM.

There is too much light coming into the room

Between the hours of 4 AM and 6 AM your child is likely in a light stage of sleep! This is when the smallest amount of light can easily wake them up. This is why it is important to invest in quality blackout shades, especially if your child‘s room faces East when the sun is rising.

A good way to test if your child’s room is dark enough is to go into their room during the day, shut the door, and turn the lights off. If you can see your hand in front of your face, it’s not dark enough! Be sure to check for light seeping through places like the edges of the window and from underneath the door.

Checkout Sleepout if your on the search for black out curtains that REALLY work! Use code MAMAC10 at checkout to get 10% off

Parent is unintentionally reinforcing the waking.

With early morning wakings, it can be so exhausting trying to get your toddler back to sleep. So understandably we say “Okay, okay let’s get up then” and we swear they better sleep in tomorrow. Maybe this only happens once or twice, but now your child is expecting you to get them out of bed every time they wake up at 5 AM because the first couple of times they did, you went ahead and got them up for the day thereby reinforcing the wake up to happen again.

Over-tiredness and Under-tiredness

Being over or under tired can lead to early morning wakings. When your baby becomes over-tired a stress-related hormone, cortisol, begins to release and can make it difficult for them to settle for sleep. Overtiredness happens when we forget to adjust wake windows after a short nap. In the opposite sense, your baby can become undertired if their daytime sleep was over the recommended total for their age. Under-tiredness can also happen if your child’s bedtime is too early.

If your child is struggling with early morning wakings, reach out!

There are a variety of solutions and techniques that can solve your child’s early morning wakings and get your family sleeping through until 6, even 7 AM! Use the link below to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our services and how we can help you with this challenge!


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