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January 3, 2023

Wake windows can be one of the most useful tools for helping your baby sleep well. That being said, it’s important to know that wake windows are not set in stone. They are simply a range of what most babies do best with. If your baby’s wake windows look nothing like what you see here, […]

Wake Windows For Your Baby

Wake windows can be one of the most useful tools for helping your baby sleep well. That being said, it’s important to know that wake windows are not set in stone. They are simply a range of what most babies do best with. If your baby’s wake windows look nothing like what you see here, but they are sleeping great, then there is no need to change anything.

What is a wake window?

A wake window is the amount of time from when baby wakes up and you bring them out of their sleep space to when you put them down for their next nap or bedtime. As mentioned above, the appropriate wake window for your baby typically falls within a certain range depending on their age.

Wake windows by age

0 – 6 weeks = 40-60 minutes

6 weeks – 3 months = 45-75 minutes

4 – 5 months = 75-120 minutes

5 – 6 months = 2-2.5 hours

7-13 months = 2.5-3.5 hours

14-24 months = 4-5 hours

24 – 36 months = 5-6 hours

When to use wake windows

Wake windows should always be considered, but are most helpful during the first 6-9 months, or before baby drops to two naps. At that point, I suggest that my clients use a set schedule for naps and bedtime.

How do I figure out what wake window to use with my child?

Every baby is different in where they will fall within the wake window range. To determine the best wake window for your baby:

  1. Start by looking at the lower end of the wake window range for their age.
  2. Observe their temperament during the day and watch when sleep cues occur.
  3. Log their sleep.
  4. Adjust the wake window depending on their temperament and naps/night waking length.

Signs that the wake window is too short:

  • they take short naps and wake up happy
  • they take over 20 minutes to fall asleep
  • wake up during the night ready to party for hours
  • stalling/resisting bedtime
  • wake early in the morning happy and rested

Signs that the wake window is too long:

  • they fall asleep in under 5 minutes
  • wake 45-60 minutes after falling asleep at bedtime
  • take short naps and wake up crying
  • fussy between naps
  • “second wind” before bedtime or nap

If you think you might need to adjust their wake windows, start with shortening or lengthening the wake window by 15 minutes at a time until you find their sweet spot.

Some children are more sensitive to wake windows than others, so 15 minutes can make a world of difference for those kiddos.

Overall, your child’s mood is the best indicator when determining their sleep needs. If they are generally happy and sleeping well at night, then they’re likely getting the right amount of sleep.

Determining your child’s sleep needs and finding a wake window or set schedule that works for them is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to their overall sleep. When working with families, a large part of my focus is finding the right schedule for your child.

If you’re interested in getting support for your child’s sleep, my baby or toddler sleep program might be right for you.

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