my 3.5 year old wakes up earlier and earlier

Hi Natalie,

How can I move my 3.5 year old boy that seems to be reacting the opposite way to all my attempts? He is extremely sensitive to changes in sleep. I tried to move him 15 minutes every 3 days and it triggered his naps to be longer and as a result his bedtimes later and morning wakes even earlier.

So I tried to address that by caping his nap length to his usual length that works well. And when I woke him up he was in a good mood but that night he couldn’t fall asleep. He was hyper in his bed for good 2 hrs. He only slept for 7h44m that night. That seems to happen every time I cap his nap.

Then I tried to move him by 5 minutes each day. 5 minute later nap and 5 minutes later bedtime. He was shifting nicely for 4 days and then on 5th day he woke up 1.5hrs earlier for the day. When I kept the same nap time as day prior, he shortened his nap to 35 minutes, he woke up hyper from the nap and stayed hyper until bedtime and took 2hrs to fall asleep and his night was only 7h44m long. Then he was up even earlier. When I kept the nap at the same time, he stopped napping. Then he stopped being able to go to bed at night without a 3 hour fight and broken night sleep into 3-4hr chunks. Waking up in the morning before 5am and crying in his sleep as he was waking up.

He has a triple blackout in his bedroom and I haven’t been opening the door to his bedroom until 7:15am this week. Which will be 6:15am next week.

His usual good routine is 6:30am wake up I don’t expose him to light until 7am. Nap at 12:30pm-12:45pm for 1h35m-1h44m. Then bedtime asleep between 8:20-8:30pm.

Are there any solutions to this puzzle?


  • Natalie_Barnett_PhD
    Natalie_Barnett_PhD Member, Nanit Team, Expert

    @byba I'd love you to cut the nap right back. I think he's not tired enough going to bed at night. I'd cut it back to 45 minutes...