How to Learn the Most about your Baby’s Sleep

There’s so much to think about and consider when taking care of a baby. Whenever you can use a simple system that helps the day to day, it is very appreciated!  Keeping a baby sleep log is a great way to track how your baby is sleeping.  You don’t have to wait until there are “problems”.  Using it right away helps you see patterns and trends and understand your baby’s personal sleep rhythms. If you have read the newborn sleep training article and are ready to try it out, having a sleep log will help tremendously!

It may not seem like a lot, but remembering the time when your baby woke up last, in addition to all of the other things in your mind, can be easily overlooked.  One of the most important elements of a newborn sleep training plan is keeping the wake time window to 1-2 hours.  Tracking sleep using a baby sleep log helps you figure out your baby’s own ideal window.  Keeping a baby sleep log or tracking your baby's sleep can help you see patterns and trends to improve their sleep schedule! Journaling your baby's sleep with notes can help you learn a lot over 1-2 weeks than can transform your baby's sleep for the better!

What is a baby sleep log?

Sleep tracking, logging or journaling is recording your baby’s sleep.  Taking notes of various things to get an overall picture of your baby’s sleep.  When they go to sleep, how long it takes to fall asleep, how long they slept, where they slept, how long they had been awake and mood when they wake up.  It helps you look back and notice patterns or trends. Then those patterns can help you adjust your routines to create an even better sleep schedule for your baby.  Jotting things down throughout the day and going back to review it can give you great insights that you may not notice on the spot!

We had our first son Miles on a pretty regular nap schedule.  His second nap was the hardest to get him down for, he would toss and turn- play etc.  By the time he fell asleep, it was late and his nap would be short.  What we concluded by looking at our sleep log was that he was staying up for a really long time between waking up in the morning and his first nap. We started putting him down a half hour earlier and it worked! He’d fall asleep faster and have a more restful nap. It turned out that his wake time was a lot shorter in the morning then between his first and second nap. Sometimes babies can act like they are not tired or have a hard time falling asleep because they are overtired.

It’s also helpful to see how much sleep your baby gets in a 24 hour period.  And most importantly- how that sleep is divided between naps and nighttime sleep.  If they usually get 14 hours of sleep and took 3 one hour naps, then they will probably sleep 11 hours during the night.  

Example of a Typical Day

*6 month baby with 3 naps:

  • Wake up= 7am
  • Put down= 8:45am
  • Fall asleep= 9am
  • Wake up= 10:30am
  • Notes: Total time awake= 2 hours, good mood, slept in crib

 

  • Put down= 1pm
  • Fall asleep= 1:30pm
  • Wake up= 2:30
  • Notes: Had gone to park and then made lunch.  Wake time was 3 hours.  Seemed overtired and took a long time to fall asleep, woke up cranky.

 

  • Put down= 4pm
  • Fall asleep= Right away
  • Wake up= 5pm
  • Notes:  Happier than earlier, playful. Wake time had been 1 and ½ hours

 

  • Put down= 6:45pm
  • Fall asleep= 7pm
  • Notes: Went down easily, wake time had been 2 hours

How Long?

Keep a record for 1-2 weeks, then look at your notes to notice trends.  Sometimes even 10 minute differences can really affect the sleep schedule!  Also, pay attention to wake times. Babies up to 3 months old should not be awake longer than 1-2 hours between naps/sleep.  If you want more details on the importance of wake time- make sure you’ve checked out the newborn sleep training guide.  

How about if you don’t want to use paper?

Our paper baby sleep log is simple and to the point.  But if going digital is more your speed, there are many apps out there where you can track sleep, as well as everything else your baby is doing!  “Baby Tracker” is great for recording notes about sleeping.  Other good ones are “Baby Connect” “Total Baby” and “Glow Baby”.  The best things about apps are sharing it with a caregiver.  So if you are at work, you can open the app and see how your baby is doing on sleep, feeding and activities for that day in real time!  No waiting until you get home, which is pretty nice.  

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Til next time!

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About Shantall Bond

Hi! My name is Shantall and I'm here to share all things parenting, handling change and tales through the city with my boys.

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