October 17, 2023

Signs it's time to drop a nap

Signs it's time to drop a nap

Are you noticing your good little sleeper is suddenly changing how they sleep and it's becoming a bit tricky?

What is happening? Well, they may be ready to transition to less sleep! Here at my top signs to look out for:


If your baby was previously linking their sleep cycles but you are noticing that those long naps are getting shorter and shorter, it may be due to not needing more sleep. 

What can happen when their total sleep requirements for the day start to reduce, so do their nap lengths! They simply don't need any more sleep. 

Let's use this as an example:


When your baby is starting to reduce from 3-2 naps, you may notice that the 2 hr long lunch nap starts to reduce to 45 min (even more or less). Once you transition to 2 naps, once their sleep regulates and starts to understand there is no more nap 3 they will naturally start t extend that long lunch nap again.

Our catnapping blog highlights all the potential contributing factors and can be read here.


If you notice your baby is still sleeping well during the day and overnight, but is starting to wake early ready for the day, they may have capped their total sleep for the day and simply don't need anymore.

Before coming to this conclusion however, ensure that all other elements have been eliminated such as your environment, feeding or response to the early morning rise.

There are many other causes of early morning rising that you can read about here


Ah this old doozy. Baby partying all night long in their cot for an hour or more consistently? This is one of the most common ongoing issues our clients report when it's time to reduce total day sleep.

The biggest cause for split nights it a misalignment between their two sleep biorhythms (circadian rhythm and homeostatic sleep drive). Essentially, not enough sleep pressure to encourage a consolidated sleep! 

As a result, they may wake overnight and be awake for a few hours creating that sleep pressure to then continue sleeping until the morning.


Another common culprit when it comes to nap transitions, why? Sleep pressure! Simply put your baby may be having too much day sleep and not enough awake time to create enough sleep pressure to consolidate their sleep overnight.

You can read more about frequent night waking here.


Playing, crying or simply refusing to go down? This is a very common occurrence for babies that need more awake time, they are simply not ready for sleep. It most commonly happens between the 3-2 transition and again at the 2-1 transition, but don't confuse this with the 12 Month Sleep Regression! One of the most common things to happen here during this period is nap refusal.

Are you noticing all these signs and sleep is still messy, we can help!

  • For small tweaks to routine, have a look at our Quick Chat - 15min option
  • For parents struggling with several things such as catnapping, frequent night waking, early morning rising or things that simply no longer work, have a look at our Phone + One Week Support option.
  • Not sure what is right for you? Get on the phone to one of our experienced consultants with our FREE 15min Discovery Call