Ask The Sleep Expert: Mixing Up Days and Nights

By Dr. Nicky Cohen, Clinical Psychologist on June 08, 2015

Question:

My baby seems to have his days and nights reversed. How do I get him back on track?

Answer:

It is not uncommon for newborns to have their days and nights mixed up, meaning that they sleep more during the day than during the night. At two to three weeks of age, you can start signalling to your baby that nighttime is for sleeping and not for playing. For example, keep the lights dim and noise to a minimum during night time feeds and diaper changes.

If your baby is more active during the night, try increasing his wakeful time during the day and expose him to daytime light, especially early morning natural light. Nighttime sleep starts to consolidate between six and 12 weeks and by two months of age many babies naturally start sleeping for longer periods at night. By two months, I would limit daytime sleep to five hours and work towards getting nine to 10 hours of sleep at night, including night feeds.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Dr. Cohen is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Individuals are encouraged to speak with a physician or other health care provider if they have concerns regarding their child's sleep and before starting any treatment plan. As it may not be possible to answer all questions, representative ones on different topics will be selected. The information provided by Dr. Cohen is provided with the understanding that Dr. Cohen is not rendering clinical, counselling, or other professional services or advice. Such information is intended solely as a general educational aid and not for any individual problem. It is also not intended as a substitute for professional advice and services from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your unique facts.

Dr. Cohen is a Registered Psychologist in private practice in Toronto. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from York University and developed an interest in parenting issues related to children’s sleep disturbances after having her first child. More information about Dr. Cohen’s work can be found at: www.kidsleep.ca


By Dr. Nicky Cohen, Clinical Psychologist| June 08, 2015

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