The Year in Review: Sleep

We’ve looked at Trixie’s sleep cycles a lot since we started collecting data at about 4 months, and things are definitely better now than they were back then. Basically, her overnight sleep patterns are pretty stable, and we’ve been successful at shifting her bedtime to an earlier hour (on most days.)

Her daytime nap schedule is still surprisingly irregular. On the positive side, her many daily catnaps have slowly consolidated into only two naps a day. But unfortunately, despite our best efforts, those daytime naps can vary wildly from day to day depending on her mood. It’s something we’re still working on.

For me, displaying 8 months worth of sleep data is an interesting challenge. The information is always available to anyone in the Sleep Log, but the full chart takes up almost a dozen screens on my browser. It’s good for looking at small ranges of time — not the big picture. Fortunately we can compress the data in such a way that makes it easier to look at patterns. Here are a couple of charts that cover the last eight months:

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10 Responses to The Year in Review: Sleep

  1. Nushi's mom says:

    Ben,
    My daughter is 18 months and I am still struggling with a regular sleep pattern. Its the 8 hour at a stretch that we crave and havent got it ever. Wonder if we went wrong in the training bit. She does 9 pm to 3 am & milk ( still !!! ) ( this is after a 11 pm milk feed) and then 3:15 am to 6:30 am. Then 6:30 am feed. DOnt know whether to withdraw the milk or not. Its become a reflex action for us to do the milk routine. And yes , I havent slept through the night this century !
    Your blog is awesome.

  2. benmac says:

    Nushi’s mom,

    I am so sorry to hear about your sleep schedule. The advice we got from our doctor was not to feed in the middle of night. Hold and comfort, but don’t feed! However, I know that what works for some doesn’t for others. I hope things get better, and good luck!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    We tried the “hold and comfort, but don’t feed” in the middle of the night, and we ended up with a baby who wanted to stay up and play for an hour or two (and refused to nap in the daytime), and two completely brain-dead parents. So we went back to feeding her when she wakes (generally around 2 am), and it’s working much better. I can get her out of the crib, breastfeed her, and put her back without really waking up fully, and I’m back to sleep within 3 minutes of putting her back in the crib now.

  4. stephen says:

    We were having some sleep problems and our doctor recommend the book “Healthy Sleep Habbits, Happy Child” by Marc Wiessbluth and it has done wonders for us. Gone from baby sleeping from 9pm to 6am with one middle of the night wake up and half hour naps to baby sleeping from 7pm to 7:30am without waking up and taking hour naps. The first week or so of trying his book is a little rough as the baby gets adjusted but our baby took to the new routine wonderfully. Good luck.

  5. Leslie says:

    Nushi’s mom:
    Another recommendation for Weissbluth. The writing is kind of confusing but he sets you straight on circadian rhythms, natural nap times, duration of sleep etc. Some of his approach was harsher than we were comfortable with but like anything you take the parts you like. Any doctor or dentist reading this will be angry with me but here’s what worked for us: At ten months we put a very dilute bottle of Apple Juice in his crib (50% water) and let him find it in the middle of the night. We gradually diluted it to water only(fluoridated- for those of you already groaning.) At 14 mos we still keep the water in his crib each night. I know it’s not ideal for their teeth but the weaning from diluted juice to water can be done over a 2-3 wks which seemed like a rather controlled risk. My feeling was the exhaustion itself was presenting greater risks in terms of affecting our (parents’ but particularly mom’s) alertness and moods!

  6. Nushi's mom says:

    Thanks for all your suggestions. I will have to find the book for some peace of mind. What I tried over the weekend was feeding at 11 pm and not feeding at 4 am but giving water. Worked. She slept in 2 minutes and then again she got up at 6 and asked for milk. Eventually I plan to withdraw the water but that will be tough because she is still on the bottle. Nevertheless we are trying…have to cope with too much attitude. I never thought 8 hours of sleep at night would be at such a premium !

  7. Francesca says:

    My twins are three. We diluted down milk bottles for night feedings, until they just got water. It cut down the night hungry wake-ups. To this day they still get water bottles in bed, because when they wake up a pat and giving them their bottle gets them right back down. My feeling is whatever gets you sleep it great. I just cannot really live with them in a sleep deprived state…they make me crazy 🙂

  8. Niki says:

    My baby is 5m old and for just over a week has been waking up every 45mins at night!!!!!!! All night long and not really napping in the day. I dont feed him in the night and he will go back off to sleep once i’ve been in to him. Have never felt so tired…not even when he was first born..any suggestions PLEASE!

  9. me says:

    If you don’t want to go 6 more months of this, my advice would be to let him cry it out. The first day will be hard, but trust me, he will be a completely new baby after a week. He WILL fall asleep just stay strong and let him cry as long as he does. The less sleep he gets, the less sleep he will get (sleep begats sleep). So right now he’s probably sleep deprived and he is definitely not getting enough sleep. Good luck!

  10. benmac says:

    I don’t have a lot of advice. Some will say cry it out, others, bring him to bed with you. That’s all personal preference. (Personally, crying doesn’t bother me) The only thing I would suggest is maybe check for a low fever. Maybe there’s an minor ear infection that’s making it hard to sleep. That has sometimes been the case with Trixie. Sorry about the lack of sleep, and good luck 🙂