Sleep Pressure - what is it???
It's what essentially helps us to fall asleep. Without enough of it, even we as adults will find it hard to settle down and sleep, so why would it be any different for babies or young children?...It isn't.
There are various factors that can affect sleep pressure:
How tired we are. If we're not tired to go to sleep, then why would we? For babies and toddlers, it's important we look at their 'awake window' between sleeps to know if they have built up enough sleep pressure to be ready to wind down and go to sleep again. If your baby has had too much sleep, or they're awake window is too short, there simply isn't enough sleep pressure that has built up to help them fall asleep again. So if your baby had a super long nap in the morning, that they just couldn't fall asleep for their 2nd nap (even a catnap), you'll find they have become overtired by bedtime. On the flip side, if they had a reasonable morning nap, but then had an extra long afternoon nap, they simply won't be tired enough at their usual bedtime because their sleep pressure hasn't built up enough.
Sleep environment - too light or too dark? How difficult do you find it to go to sleep if all the lights are on at night? I know I do, so it's likely your baby can't switch off either. Our bodies are regulated by circadian rhythms, where melatonin (the hormone that helps us feel sleepy) is released in the dark and not the daylight, hence why sleep pressure will not be that great in daylight compared to a dark room. This is one of the reasons I always recommend a dark space for any sleep, whether its naps or night time. I appreciate that it's not always possible to nap in a dark room but this just adds that little bit of sleep pressure when a nap is due.
How stimulating the environment is. How difficult is it for you to fall asleep with the lights on, TV on, lots of noise or other distractions?...pretty difficult right.... Guess what....it's no different for babies!!! Remove anything loud and bubbly, any cot mobiles, keep the lights dim/dark, and use a white noise machine if you live in a noisy area or have other kids at home that make lots of noise.
Help create an ideal environment, have optimal awake windows to help your baby create enough sleep pressure to help them fall asleep.
We can help you create the perfect programme to get your baby sleeping better for naps and night time, with our bespoke services to suit your needs. Want more information then just get in touch here.
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