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Split Nights: 3 Causes and How to Stop Them!

Firstly, what is a split night?

A split night occurs when a baby or toddler stays awake for an extended period during the night. Surprisingly, during this wakeful phase, little ones may not appear upset; instead, they might engage in self-talk or use the time to practice new skills like clapping or crawling.

Dealing with split nights as a parent can be challenging, but understanding the root causes can be the key to more restful sleep for both you and your little one. In this guide, we'll explore three common culprits behind split nights and practical strategies to put an end to those prolonged periods of wakefulness.


So, what causes them?

Cause #1: Your little one is getting too much daytime sleep

One leading cause of split nights is an excess of daytime sleep, which can disrupt the sleep pressure needed for a full night's rest. If your little one is napping too much during the day, it might be time for some adjustments. Our routine guide can provide valuable insights into finding the right balance.

Cause #2: Their bedtime is just too early

An early bedtime can contribute to split nights by creating an imbalance in the sleep-wake cycle. While an early bedtime is often recommended, it's crucial to strike the right balance. Adjust bedtime slightly if necessary, ensuring your child accumulates enough sleep pressure for a more consolidated night's sleep.

Cause #3: Are they learning a new skill?

Sometimes, split nights occur when your little one is mastering a new skill and wants to practice during the night. While this phase will pass, consistency in your response is key. Ideally, only intervene when they genuinely need assistance, allowing them the space to navigate this exciting developmental stage.


So, how do we stop them?

To put an end to split nights, consider implementing the following strategies:

  • Adjust Daytime Sleep: Tweak your child's nap schedule to ensure an optimal balance of daytime sleep and awake time.

  • Push Bedtime: If bedtime is too early, make subtle adjustments to strike the right balance in the sleep-wake cycle. Try adjusting by 15 minutes at a time.

  • Consistent Responses: Remain consistent in your response, intervening only when necessary. This helps establish a reassuring routine.


Understanding the causes of split nights empowers you to make informed adjustments, leading to better sleep for both you and your little one. Remember, this challenging phase will pass, and by implementing these strategies, you'll be better equipped to navigate those split nights with confidence.

Split nights are tough, so make sure to take care of yourself!


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