Why Sleepy Cues for Your Baby Are Unreliable

Hey ff fam,

Remember on a Sunday morning, pre-baby, sleeping in until 9am and getting 8 hours of sleep overnight and then feeling tired and yawning an hour later?

As an adult, are you ready for a nap after 8 hours of sleep and an hour of being awake? Unlikely! (Although as a working parent, that does sound like a dream)

However, you're still showing “sleepy cues.” Unfortunately, sleepy cues are just unreliable. This is why we follow awake windows instead of sleepy cues. 

If I followed my two year old's sleepy cues, she would be going down for a nap an hour after waking up from her 12 hour overnight sleep. And then she would be up all night…

Let's take a step back, what even are sleepy cues?

Sleepy cues are when babies yawn, rub their eyes, get a red eye mask, etc. They're often thought of as a sign that the baby is ready to go to sleep. However, at full feedings, we disagree that sleepy cues are a reliable sign that it's time to put your baby down for a nap or bedtime.

Hear me out…

Many babies don't show sleepy cues at all and others show them throughout an awake window at different times. We believe that by following a baby's Optimal Wake Time (OWT), you can maximize their daytime and nighttime sleep by limiting how much sleep they get during the day. This helps to make sure they don't become overtired and they have enough of a sleep drive to sleep at night.

By 6 months old, many babies show two sets of sleepy cues, one shortly after waking and the other towards the end of their awake window. If you followed every set of sleepy cues, your baby would likely fight sleep (because they aren't tired enough yet to actually sleep) or they would get so much daytime sleep that they would be up all night.

Instead of spending all day waiting for sleepy cues, take the guess work out of sleep and follow OWT instead. It's much more consistent and reliable, trust us!

If you want to learn more about a simple 3-step method to achieve consistent nighttime sleep without crying and without “sleep training” AND about what age-appropriate Optimal Wake Times you should be using for your little one, check our our Online Programs for access to monthly guides that share age-appropriate routines!! For as little as $9.99/month (3-month minimum), you can get the sleep your entire family needs! 😴