Are wake windows important (and if so, why do they matter)?

Are wake windows important (and if so, why do they matter)?

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If you’re currently raising a baby, or are expecting one in the near future, chances are you’re looking for every tip you can to help you along the journey. Wake windows are a popular tool that millions around the world use, consciously or unconsciously, to help regulate the sleeping patterns of babies and young children.

If you haven’t heard it before, the term refers to the amount of time that a baby or young child should be awake before they go back to sleep again. Let’s explore whether they actually matter or not.

Why are wake windows important?

Wake windows are definitely important – here are a few of the most important reasons.

Avoid overstimulation

While adults who stay up for too long will generally just want to go to sleep, the opposite can happen with children. It’s possible that they’ll become overstimulated, making it exceedingly difficult for them to go to sleep when the time comes. Wake windows can help to avoid this, making the whole process a lot, lot easier.

Promote health sleep

Sleep is obviously important for all of us, but for babies and younger children who are growing at an incredible rate, it becomes absolutely vital that they get enough downtime. Using wake windows in a responsible manner can really help to create healthy sleep patterns, ensuring that your child is getting the rest they need.

Limit disruptions to sleep

When a child doesn’t get enough sleep, it becomes far more likely that the sleep they do get is of compromised quality. Using wake windows can ensure that they get to sleep at the right times for the right durations, often avoiding any unnecessary disruptions as a result. 

Improved mood

As a result of the improvements to the child’s general sleep patterns, it’s highly likely that you’ll see a marked improvement in their mood. While we all get a little grouchy when we’re tired, children are often far more sensitive – if they’re having what we perceive to be behavioural issues, it’s highly likely that it’s a result of not getting enough sleep at the right times.

What wake window is appropriate for my child?

Wake windows tend to increase in length as a baby gets older. These are some very rough estimates of wake windows based on age that you can follow.

  • Newborns (0-3 months) – 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Younger infants (3-6 months) – 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Older infants (6-12 months) – 2-4 hours
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) – 3-6 hours

It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines, and every child will be slightly different. Some children may require more or less sleep than others, and other factors will also likely have an impact on when they need to rest and when they might need some extra stimulation.

That should have cleared things up a little; wake windows are undoubtedly important, and it’s important that you use them in the right way. By using this newfound knowledge to your advantage, you can hopefully take a lot of stress out of the process of raising your child – it will always be stressful, but you can definitely make it less so.

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