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Old 08-09-2011, 11:34 AM   #1
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How can we help our light sleeper?

Our one year old is such a light sleeper.

We've been working on gradually having him sleep in his crib, but he (usually) wakes up within 30-40 minutes. He doesn't self-soothe, so he starts fussing and crying right away. I think maybe he finishes one sleep cycle, stirs, and then has trouble staying asleep.

He's always been a difficult sleeper and it's starting to wear on us. But, more importantly, I just want him to be well rested.

Sometimes he'll fall asleep and then wake himself out of sleep. He fights it a lot.

He sleeps so lightly, too. Sometimes tiny little noises will wake him up (even with background noise, white noise, etc.). Other times it's fine and he'll sleep through some stuff.

He's had some stretches of sleep in the crib that were longer (2+ hours or so) but overall it's shorter. At night it's usually about an hour or so. We're still co-sleeping for most of the night.

It's not just the crib... even if he's napping in the Pack 'n Play in the living room (with me right there) he'll wake up after a short while. Sometimes he's successful with going back to sleep, sometimes I can just rub his back and he'll go back to sleep, but other times it's just this "omg I'm wide awake now I can't believe they want me to nap in this thing."

Any advice?

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Old 08-09-2011, 11:52 AM   #2
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

have you tried just letting him cry or fuss for even a few minutes? its possible he would have gone back to sleep but the back rubbing, etc is too stimulating for him. Almost all of my kids and daycare kids do the 45 min thing around 4 or 6 months and they do have to learn to just go back to sleep. Eventually they won't even wake. I even wait a few minutes with my 3 month old and 9 times out of 10, she goes back to sleep within a few minutes. She's already doing a solid 9 hours at night, we are co-sleeping and she occasionally wakes to nurse but sometimes not. Anyway, I would figure out where you want him to sleep and when and be super consistent about that. Darkened room with white noise works here. Other than that, I would say hold back a bit and see what happens if you are not right there for constant soothing.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:01 PM   #3
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

I'm sure my opinion won't be popular here, but we had the same problem with DS and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child made life so much better for us. We used CIO and trained ourselves to recognize when DS needed to sleep and within a week, he was sleeping so much better. Six months later, DS is a champion sleeper.

He's still a light sleeper in that everything wakes him up, but now that he knows how to self soothe, he happily goes back to sleep when he wakes mid-nap or in the night. At 17 months, he's currently sleeping 7am-7pm with a 2-3 hour nap around 11:30.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:06 PM   #4
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

I second the sleep training, too. Around 10 months, we did it with my youngest b/c his sleeping as getting worse, not better, the older he got. We did CIO and it took less than a week for it to work. He's an awesome sleeper now. Occasionally he'll need me to just come and give him a quick cuddle, but usually he falls right back asleep on his own.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:11 PM   #5
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

Thank you for responding.

I will try letting him fuss for a bit the next time he wakes up... unfortunately, though, he gets very worked up very quickly. He will also stand up in his crib and SCREAM.

I wish I could see the future and see if this difficult sleeper thing will be something he grows out of! I know these months can be especially difficult, and it doesn't help that his molars are coming in.

I don't want to let him CIO, but I have allowed some bits of crying (leave him for a little while, go in to soothe, etc.). Sometimes it seems like he just needs some time to work things out before he falls asleep, and then will fall asleep rather easily. He won't fall asleep while crying (and I'm not comfortable leaving him long enough to find out his breaking point), but will (sometimes) with some singing and back rubbing. Otherwise we have to wait until he's asleep and hope for a smooth transfer.

I try to be consistent, but he responds so differently to things every day! What works for one nap won't necessarily work for the next.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:23 PM   #6
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

I will say that I'm already seeing a lot of progress with him sleeping in the crib (and falling asleep in the crib). But it's just frustrating when you're all, "Woo hoo! He fell asleep in there! Wow that went well!" and then he wakes up less than an hour later.

He doesn't seem ready to drop a nap just yet, but I'm tempted to give it a try and see if maybe he'd adjust. He'll only have one nap today, since he fought it for so long. Maybe he IS ready to drop a nap, and this might help him sleep better?

He slept for about 45 minutes in his crib, woke up crying, I tried to soothe him in his crib but it didn't work and he got really worked up, so I picked him up and took him downstairs. He immediately fell back to sleep (on the couch) and has been sleeping for over an hour. *sigh*

I'm hoping that just being more consistent about him being in the crib will help, and that he'll learn to self-soothe as time goes on (and it becomes a place he's more familiar with).
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:44 PM   #7
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

We really need help with ours too. We live in a big, old, creaky, wooden house and the noises just echo like crazy. Not to mention we have old wooden stairs that sound like cannons firing when you walk down them . I wish we could move. My DD sleeps with white noise blasting as loud as it can go and will still wake up at the slightest creak in the house. I am dreading her waking up every time the baby does but I know it will happen because there is no way a baby crying every 2 or so hours at night is not going to wake my DD up .
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:57 PM   #8
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

^ lol, we have an old house with lots of wood, too. I remember telling my husband, "It was a baaad idea to buy a big old house with all wood floors! What were we thinking?!" haha.

There are two steps on our stair case that I have to avoid when he's sleeping.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:23 PM   #9
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

Try a fan or white noise machine? Target sells one for about $20. Our kids aren't awesome sleepers, but our house is small and old and it helps drown out the noises we make during naptimes and after they are in bed.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:22 PM   #10
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Re: How can we help our light sleeper?

We do use those, which helps somewhat.
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