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Your Baby or Toddler Is Waking Early & Can't Get Back To Sleep Again

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Your Baby or Toddler Is Waking Early & Can't Get Back To Sleep Again
Babies and young children have difficulty regulating their own body temperature. They can lose body heat up to 4 times as fast as an adult. This leaves them vulnerable to even the slightest change in temperature. Once they feel the cold they struggle to regain the temperature drop in their body and then wake up and cannot get back to sleep again.

As a baby sleep consultant, I come across a lot of situations where children are not dressed warm enough at night

Why do Children Wake Up in the Early Hours?

The most common wake up time in young children is between 3-4 am when the air temperature dips, triggering a dip in body temperature. This can be enough to wake a peacefully sleeping child and cause unnecessary broken sleep patterns. Then you have a wakeful child if they aren't dressed warmly enough. Babies and toddlers are not as adaptable as adults to temperature change. A baby's body surface area is approximately three times as big compared to an adult's, compared to the weight of his/her body. Babies can lose heat rapidly, as much as four times more quickly than adults.

What is the Impact on My Child?

The problem of a child's broken sleep is huge, creating developmental, emotional and attention issues. For the parent, it will leave you feeling exhausted instead of being an attentive and present parent you want to be.

Why Won't My Child Keep Their Blanket On?

Once asleep, a child does not instinctively know to pull up a blanket which has fallen away from their body. They are unable to problem solve in this way to independently keep themselves warm. This can be a problem until 3-5 years old.

Can I Keep My Child Warm With a Heater?

In my experience, I see a lot of parents cranking up the heating in an effort to keep their child warm. This doesn’t help.  Heaters dry up the air in the room, drying up nasal secretions and noses get blocked and snuffly. The key is to use layers of quality warm, natural fibre, sleepwear, merino wool in particular, especially in winter.

Cotton and Bamboo Sleepwear

Cotton and bamboo are great fibres for summer and warm seasons but not cool autumn and winter nights. The problem with cotton is it makes your baby or toddler sweat if they are too warm. This sweat cools them down and reduces their body temperature and once it gets to 3-4 am they are going to wake as it has reduced their body temperature.

Keeping Their Core Warm

Many sleepwear products have their padding in the wrong areas for maintaining body temperature. The core is the most important area to keep warm as this area has all the essential body organs - lungs, heart, live and kidneys. A body warming vest on their top half will stop this happening or a sleepsuit with padded sleeves. If their arms feel cool or cold then they need another layer of clothing, remembering it is the quality of the clothing rather than the number of layers that is the key. Using cotton or bamboo in winter is like using kindling wood on a fire rather than a good heavy log of wood.

What is Wrong with Dressing my Child in Synthetic Fibres?

Synthetic fibres such as polyester and acrylic are not breathable. They trap hot air in and put your child at risk of overheating. Wearing synthetic fibres can leave your child feeling sweaty and clammy which is not a conducive environment for good sleep.

What is the Best Way to Keep my Child Warm and Comfortable?

It is essential to keep their core warm, in particular, their chest and arms using layers of good quality bedclothes made of natural fibres such as Merino wool.  Merino wool has great breathability and will help with temperature regulation. It will absorb and release moisture so your child stays comfortable throughout the night. It also helps with sensitive skin and eczema-prone skin.

Hello Night Kids

What Sleepwear Do I Recommend?

I highly recommend investing in Hello Night Kids Merino sleepwear as a solution to cold nighttime wake-ups. The beautiful Merino wool will allow your child's body to breathe and maintain a constant temperature that is conducive to sleep.

And lucky Nurture Parenting parents have access to a special 10% discount on purchases over $100 from with voucher code K1SLEEP.

As a loving parent, this will help you create a warm, safe and comfortable sleeping environment for your child to sleep through the night.

You may still be struggling with sleep after addressing the baby's body temperature with the right sleepwear.

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