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Welcome To The Members Area! Forums Baby Sleep Help Overtiredness and hyperactivity Reply To: Overtiredness and hyperactivity

  • Emma H

    April 15, 2024 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Vivian,

    I hope you had a great weekend. It’s great that your mother-in-law was able to help out. Hopefully, you got some time to rest during that visit.

    Bedtime false starts are when your little one seems to fall asleep for the night but then wakes up soon after—kind of like mistaking bedtime for a quick nap. This can happen just a few minutes in or 30/35/40/45 minutes later. After waking, they’re usually up for a full wake window before they’re ready to sleep again.

    There are a few reasons why bedtime false starts happen:

    1. Bedtime might be too early: Babies under 3-4 months old often do better with a later bedtime. So, if you’re putting them down between 6-8 PM, they may initially fall asleep but then wake up soon after. This could lead to a repetitive cycle of soothing them back to sleep over and over until they finally settle into a deep sleep sometime between 8 PM and 11 PM. Alternatively, they might not settle down after that initial wake up and instead stay awake for another wake window before finally going to sleep later in the evening, between 8 PM and 11 PM.
    2. They aren’t tired enough: If your baby hasn’t been up long enough before bedtime, they might have enough sleep pressure to fall asleep but not stay asleep.
    3. They’re falling asleep while feeding: It’s common for babies to fall asleep during their last feed of the night because it’s so soothing. However, if they haven’t built up enough sleep pressure to stay asleep for long, they might wake up soon after.
    4. They’re asleep before being placed in the crib: If your little one falls asleep with some help—like feeding, rocking, or bouncing—and then you move them to their crib, they might wake up surprised by the change. It’s similar to how you’d feel if you went to sleep with a pillow and woke up to find it gone—you’d probably wake up looking for it!

    From what you have said, the likely reasons for your little one waking up after bedtime may be a mixture of 1 and 2. He has just hit four months so bedtimes can still vary and I also think the timing of his last nap of the day is starting to have an impact on his bedtime and his ability to stay asleep. When your mother-in-law helped out his bedtime was earlier than usual, at 6:30pm and so were his naps. I wonder if moving his naps earlier meant he had a longer time awake between that final nap of the day and his bedtime? But in general, he is still really young and I just think he needs a little more time.

    Regarding your question on naptime and bedtime routines – No, they don’t necessarily have to be in the same order of activities. It’s perfectly fine if the routine varies slightly depending on who is putting the baby to sleep, as long as the overall environment and approach remain soothing and conducive to sleep.

    However, some consistency in how these routines are carried out can be helpful for your baby. Babies and young children often thrive on predictability. So while the routines don’t have to match perfectly, maintaining a few core elements (like a specific lullaby, a cuddle, or dimming the lights) and ensuring that the last activity is calming and done in the bedroom can make the transition to sleep smoother, regardless of whether it’s naptime or bedtime.

    Babies can learn to nap in a room that isn’t completely dark. But in saying that, a dark room (so dark that you can’t read a book) can make it easier for babies to fall asleep and then link sleep cycles when they’re developmentally ready to.

    I hope that helps,