Does too much sleep exist?

Is there ever a time when your baby is sleeping too much?

I know that might sound crazy, especially if you’ve had months or even years of broken sleep, and short naps.

The baby might actually sleep too much. The truth of the matter is that 9 times out of 10, there is no such thing as too much daytime sleep. Some babies have different needs than other babies. Some will have a nice two-hour nap, some will sleep three hours, some will do fine on an hour. So, I want you to relax a little bit, and to understand that there is no magic amount of time that each baby needs.

However, in some cases, too much daytime sleep can start to affect the night. One area where I ask people to keep a close eye on, is the last nap of the day. If the last nap of the day is getting too long and pushing into your bedtime, that would be the only place where I would say go ahead and wake your baby gently. I generally only advise that you wake your little one if they are still asleep at 4pm. Obviously this depends on the age of the baby!

When waking them, open the door, make a little noise out in the hallway, turn on the light. Try to get him to wake up on his own with a gentle push from you. What I do find that happens if you wake a baby is that they are fairly grouchy for the next 10 minutes to half an hour after the fact. I remember my son in particular, if you were to wake him from a nap, you had a bear on your hands for the next hour.

I really caution people around waking a sleeping baby. Rule of thumb, don’t do it.

I have had a couple of clients though where the baby seemed to be sleeping too much. I’ll give you an example. This was a child who was taking a nice 12-hour night and taking two to three-hour naps a day. The sleep is not the problem. The problem was that the mom expressed concerns around the baby’s fatigue level.

In her opinion, this baby seemed tired all the time. That might be one instance where you might want to run that idea by your Paediatrician. Discuss how much sleep your child is getting, and more to the point, how is their behaviour and mood throughout the day? There could be lots of simple fixes to a problem like that but it’s worth discussing with your doctor if that’s the case. But as a rule of thumb, for the majority of babies out there, there is no such thing. The truth of the matter is, the better your baby sleeps through the day, the better he or she will sleep at night.

Anyone who tells you to stop daytime naps or keep him up longer throughout the day, is telling you a fib. It's simply not true! The more sleep a baby misses through the day, the higher chance they will end up overtired. Overtiredness is a baby’s worst enemy. You want to make sure that the baby is fatigued enough for sleep to come but not overtired. Being overtired makes it very difficult for a baby to calm down enough to get themselves to sleep. If you’ve ever had a night where you feel overtired, you know what I’m talking about. You want to avoid that with your baby.