Napping and night time sleep are completely interconnected. One affects the other so entirely that we cannot approach them in isolation.
Some of the most common night time sleep issues we see are directly related to a baby's nap timings or structure and it is quite an easy fix! To put it simply, if your baby naps for too long in the day it will affect their ability to settle easily at bedtime and sleep longer at night because they're just not tired enough. That said, it is still vitally important your baby gets enough day sleep or they will quickly become overtired, making them harder to settle and affecting the quality of their sleep. We strongly recommend having your baby following our Sleep Programs, which are designed around the perfect amount of daytime sleep and awake time for your baby’s age.
Here is a guide for how much cumulative day sleep your baby needs at each age, to allow for 12 hours sleep at night (including feeds for younger babies):
1-2 weeks 5 ½ hours
2-4 weeks 5 hours
4-6 weeks 4 ¾ hours
6-8 weeks 4 hours
8-12 weeks 3 ½ hours
3-6 months 3 hours
6-9 months 2 ½ hours
9-12 months 2 – 2 ½ hours
For day sleeps, where possible, put your baby in their own bassinet/cot with their appropriate sleep associations/tools (see here for settling tips). It is also good to do some naps in a front pack or carrier or a stroller so it gives you the freedom to get out of the house and your baby will get used to sleeping in a different place.
For day sleeps, we’d recommend using blackout curtains to achieve a nice dark room. This will not confuse your baby that it is night time, but it will ensure they settle easier and sleep better than being in a bright room.
Whether or not you are using one of our Sleep Programs, it is sometimes helpful to wake your baby from their naps if required, to ensure they don’t sleep for too long or miss any feeds. This is especially important for younger babies. This helps ensure your baby won’t have had too much day sleep, which will lead to a better night.