When should you wake a sleeping baby?

True or false? Let's dive into this myth!

Lovebug, LLC

When to wake a sleeping baby from a nap?

There is a time to wake a sleeping baby, and that's when they are sleeping so long that they impact the sleep they get at other times of the day. Those silly gooses.

When you log your little one's sleep in your Lovebug app, you will get a schedule that updates hourly to adjust to your baby's sleep patterns that day. You can find your baby's ideal schedule by downloading the Lovebug app and taking advantage of your free trial! Your Lovebug app not only tell your when your baby's ideal bedtime/nap time is, it will also tell you when to wake your little to ensure they are getting the appropriate amount of day/night sleep.  

Did you know your baby has a range for night sleep, day sleep, and total sleep? Overall, we know that if you miss some night sleep, you can make up for it during the day, and if you miss some day sleep, you can make up for it at night. It's more about balance than it is about a strict schedule.

That being said, certain times are more appropriate for sleeping than others. It's when our body clock is expecting to be asleep. Both your and your baby's body clocks are kind of type A. They love their little planners. When they expect the body to be asleep, the body clock hands out tasks to the other organs. They say, "ok intestines, you process toxins at 2am, and ok arms and legs you relax around 10pm that when we'll regenerate your cells, then we'll squeeze in processing new memories at our 3pm nap". 

So when the body has to be flexible because something changes, it has to change the plan. Sometimes, some organs can no longer be accommodated in the new schedule. It happens sometimes! This is why you'll want to wake your baby from a nap when they are sleeping a bit longer than we'd like. And to wake them, we want to use what we call the Gentle Ninja wake!

What is the "Gentle Ninja" Wake?

We call this special wake up the "Gentle Ninja" because I want you to sneak into your baby's room without waking them. (In fact, go buy a ninja outfit... Just kidding). You are going to creep into their sleep space and show the triggers that will scream to their body clock, "It's time to wake up!" You will expose them to bright light by opening the curtains, turning on the light. Next, you want to tiptoe over and turn off the sound machine. Then do your best to creep out of the room. If you wake your baby, that's ok too; next time, channel your inner sensei. 

Ok, but WHY are we embodying a ninja?

  1. We want to wake your baby up easy. Waking up easy is all about waking your baby during their lightest sleep phase, without an external signal, like you gently patting them or an alarm clock. Waking up during light sleep feels like waking up naturally rested, so your baby will be in a better mood once they wake up.
  2. We want to program your baby's body clock so that they sleep and wake up at the times that are most biologically appropriate for them. When your baby's internal traffic light wakes them up, it remembers the timing in its programming and will gently shift the body clock. We want that because we want consistency and good health. The external "alarm clock" type of wake-up is not going to shift the body clock in the same way.

If your baby doesn't wake within 15 minutes after doing the Ninja, then you should go wake them. As a reminder, your Lovebug schedule will give you a good idea of when to wake your baby so that they stay on schedule.

5 times not to worry about more day sleep

Please, keep in mind that there are a few circumstances when you should not worry about your baby getting too much day sleep. Sometimes, more day sleep is NOT a problem. Those circumstances are as follows:

  1. You did awesome getting your baby balance by offering them another nap when you knew your wouldn’t be able to get them the bedtime they usually get.
  2. Your baby is sick and you are amazing for helping them get extra time to boost their immune system.
  3. Your baby has been struggling with night sleep and is now in the low levels of total sleep, so you are doing incredible by getting them rest when you can.
  4. You are trusting your read of your baby and doing what seems to work best for them.
  5. Your baby is just starting to sleep through the night and their body clock has not yet completely shifted, but you are working on it.

And always, always, trust your instincts!

Speaking of schedules, did you know that daylight savings is just around the corner? This means a shift in your baby's sleep schedule, ah! Good news: we have a brand new feature coming to the Lovebug app that will adjust your baby's sleep schedule for you! You can watch the video lesson on daylight savings time with your free trial of the Lovebug app here!

Ready to apply these tips? The Lovebug app gives you tools to help! 
Start your free trial.

The badge for the apple app store.The badge for the google play store.

Just getting started with sleep training & coaching?

Take our quiz to find out how Lovebug gives you personalized sleep support.

A flowchart quiz for viewers to understand what their parenting style is and how they should sleep train their babies based on that parenting style.A quiz to help a parent determine their parenting style. Once they know their parenting style, they can use that parenting style to determine the right solution for sleep training for them.

How does your parenting style define you?

A+ Planner

The sleep gods are definitely in your favor. You are smart, grounded, and don't want to be taken by surprise when it comes to your baby's sleep (or lack there of)!

You will shine in this first year of parenthood with a tool that gives you a solid sleep plan to execute, guiding you to great sleep from the newborn phase to the toddler years.

See Solutions for A+ Planners

Rock Star

The sleep gods honor those who are prepared! And, you have impressed them! Your logical, practical, and systematic approach to your baby's sleep since early on will definitely pay off.

You'll flourish with a solution that helps you keep your baby sleeping well through all of the regressions, transitions, and baby sleep curve balls thrown at you in the first years of life.

See Solutions for Rockstars

Free Spirit

The sleep gods know that you don't stress when things don't go exactly as planned! You are spontaneous, playful, and likely love a good nap on the go!

You'll thrive with a flexible solution that will guide you in the moment. One that will adapt and adjust to you, your baby, & your parenting style.

See Solutions for Free Spirits


The sleep gods acknowledge your strength and willingness to do anything for your baby! You wear your heart on your sleeve. You are a loyal, protective, determined, and steadfast parent.

You will thrive when given open communication to a live sleep consultant trained in all sleep methods, and a personalized plan that honors your needs and parenting style.

See Solutions for Warriors