Wake Times

What is wake time?

Wake time is the time a child can be awake between periods of sleep. Here is a rough idea of how much time a child can tolerate being awake:

  • Newborn – 4 months: 45 to 1 hour 15 minutes
  • 4 to 6 months: 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours
  • 6 to 9 months: 2 to 3 hours
  • 9 to 12 months: 3 to 4 hours
  • 12 months to 24 months: 4 to 6 hours
  • 24 months to 36 months: 6 to 12 hours
  • 36 months to 12 years: 12 hours to 14 hours

Please keep in mind that all children are individuals and some children can tolerate more wake time than others their same age will tolerate.

How will you know that it is time to increase your child’s wake time?

Typically a child will start waking more at night or taking much longer to fall asleep for all or some sleep times. For example, your child typical sleeps for at least 6 hours at a time but has now started waking up every 2 hours. The first thing I look at is illness/teething and then I look at daytime wake times.

If you have adjusted the wake times and/or child is becoming increasingly more irritable then I would look at decreasing the wake time your child has.

How do I increase my child’s wake time?

I recommend adding 15 minutes of being awake at each sleep time. After adding the 15 minutes I would recommend keeping the new time for at least 3 days before making any further adjustments.  It can take a couple of days for your child to adapt to the new wake time.

How will I know the new wake time is working?

Usually, you will see fewer issues with going to sleep and a decrease in the middle of the night wakings. Please be patient as it may take a few days for your child to adjust to the new wake time. I would wait 4 to 7 days before I made any additional changes.