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What are wake windows and how can sleep covers help you hit them?

This week, our blog is being taken over by Jessica Boreham - The Sleepy Avocado, a Winchester-based sleep consultant. Jessica's approach is gentle and responsive, and she can provide support remotely to wherever you may be! 

Wake windows are the optimum amount of time that your baby should be awake before going back to sleep. If a baby is awake beyond their wake window they are likely to become overtired. Signs of overtiredness include - red eyebrows/eyelids, yawning, rubbing their eyes, pulling at their ears, fussing/crying and ‘wired’ behaviour.

 Overtiredness will result in the baby being harder to put down for their next nap and it can also affect their sleep at night. To avoid it you want to be thinking about your baby going to sleep around 15 minutes before you actually want them to be asleep. A baby taking 10-15 minutes to fall asleep means their sleep latency is bang on, showing they’re not overtired.

Surprisingly, a baby falling asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow is not a good sign, it is a key indicator for overtiredness. A baby taking too long to go to sleep can be a sign of overtiredness too, or undertiredness. It’s a tricky puzzle to crack.

 A newborn’s wake window will only be around 60 minutes long, by 6 months you should be looking at a wake window of around two and a half hours. At a year it will be around three and a half hours and at 18 months you should be working to a wake window of five hours.

 If you don’t want to be chained to the house for nap time and are keen to bring in some pram naps a sleep cover can be a brilliant tool to use. It helps provide a dark, unstimulating space, which, along with the gentle rocking of the pram is perfect for helping little ones doze off.

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