Dr. Alan Greene answers the question, How can I get my baby to sleep later in the morning?

By Alan Greene, MD, FAAP
October 03, 2005


My 9-month-old boy falls asleep at 8:00 every night and wakes up somewhere between 4:00 and 5:30 every morning. How can I get him to sleep later?


Kids tend to develop pretty strong habits around sleep and get quite used to the way things really work. The average 9-month-old sleeps about 14 hours a day, give or take an hour or two. On average, most kids at that age take about two naps a day as part of their 14 hours of sleep. You can't do much to increase the total amount that your baby sleeps, but by cutting a bit on his naps or putting him down a bit later, you might be able to get him to sleep a bit later in the morning. You might try shortening or even eliminating one of your baby's naps. The average age to drop to one true nap a day is 18 months, but you can try varying his a bit -- or start going to sleep earlier or get naps yourself. You need the rest, one way or the other.

When my youngest son was about that age, we put a light on a timer in his room. If he woke after 5 (an arbitrary time) and saw the light was on, that meant it was morning and he could drink, then come fall asleep with us. He learned within a few weeks that earlier wakings didn't get feedings. We all often got another hour or two of sleep this way.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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