Crib Hour: What Is It & How Does It Work?

Crib Hour: What Is It & How Does It Work?

Before giving birth to your beautiful bundle of joy, you may have imagined an idyllic future where your little one took two-hour naps all day long, leaving you to blissfully spend your time practicing #SelfCare, assembling Pinterest-worthy baby books, and of course, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. 

But then the day finally arrived when your wild one was born, and just like that, your aspirations of having a little “me time” during nap time quickly went out the window. 

Why? Because you’ve got a short napper on your hands, that’s why.  

Whether you call them cat-naps, mini-naps, micro-naps, or something else, short naps can feel like the bane of your existence as a parent. It may seem like you spend a lifetime trying to help your tiny tot drift off to dreamland when it’s time for a nap — only to have them wake shortly after you lay them down. Not exactly a relaxing experience for anyone.

So, what’s an exhausted parent to do?

Enter: Crib hour

What Is Crib Hour?

Crib hour — aka crib 60 — is a sleep training strategy that aims to help little ones learn how to connect their sleep cycles so that when they rouse after a short stretch of time, they can independently fall back asleep and ultimately take naps lasting an hour or more. To do this, you’ll need to apply the 60-minute rule. 

How Does It Work?

The 60-minute rule means that you’ll keep your tiny tot in their crib during nap time for at least an hour from the time that they are placed down to nap — even if they’re not asleep. 

If your baby drifts off to dreamland but happens to wake after a short nap, apply your sleep method of choice until they’ve either fallen asleep or it’s been a full 60 minutes from the time they were first placed down for the nap — whichever happens first. 

If your small bundle refuses to summon the sandman, you can go ahead and end nap time, but only after the entire hour has passed. The only caveat is if it is their third and final nap at the end of the day. These quick cat-naps are meant to provide your little one with just enough fuel to last them until bedtime, so if they only catch 30 minutes of zzzs, it’s totally A-OK!    

What Is a Short Nap?

Simply put, a short nap is a nap that’s anything less than an hour long — it can be as short as a few minutes. 

On the flip side, a long nap is one that’s an hour or more. Most parents can expect one to two hours of naptime, although some infants and toddlers will take longer nap sessions, especially the tiny tots who have successfully transitioned from two daily siestas to just one — this is when crib 60 generally becomes crib 90.  

Why Are Short Naps Not Ideal for Babies?

While short naps may seem like nothing more than a major annoyance, they are a real problem for a number of reasons:

  • Short naps prevent deep, daytime sleep, which is meant to give little ones a much-needed restorative reboot. Without this important kind of shut-eye, babies can become overtired, often leaving mom and dad with a super cranky infant to try and soothe. 
  • When you’ve got a short napper on your hands, it’s not uncommon to feel trapped at home. Not only is your little one super grumpy, but they almost always seem just a few moments away from their next nap. 
  • Like sleep deprivation, short naps generally lead to more disrupted sleep at nighttime, which can then lead to short naps during the day. It’s a vicious cycle that can feel undeniably overwhelming. 
  • You’ll never get a break which can quickly drain your energy and leave you feeling miserable. This can spell trouble when you’re responsible for taking care of a tiny human who requires around-the-clock care. 

Really, neither you nor your sweet baby is particularly happy about short naps. 

What Causes Short Naps?

Just like most other things with little ones, the culprit behind the infamous short nap is pretty complex, which simply means that there could be several things causing your baby to take short snoozes, such as:

Sleep Regressions

Known as the 4-month sleep regression — they are notorious for disrupting quality sleep. Although it may be tough, stay consistent with your sleep routine when facing a regression to prevent major setbacks in your nap training efforts. 

Sleep Associations 

These cues or behaviors your tiny tot associates so strongly with going to sleep that they simply can’t close their peepers without them. 

For example, an infant may have a feed-to-sleep association meaning every time they stir in the middle of the night or during a nap; they will need to be fed in order to get back to sleep. Moving the feeding to right after your baby naps vs. before may help break this food-sleep relationship.   

Nap Time Routines

These are crucial when going through the motions of nap training. By the time your sweet pea is 3 to 4 months old, you’ll want to have a consistent soothing pre-nap ritual that signals to your baby that it’s time to hit the hay, in addition to enabling them to successfully transition from play-mode to snooze-mode. 

A Final Word  

If you’re thinking about trying crib hour, an effective sleep-inducing pre-nap routine is key in your nap training success. While it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, the routine should consist of a few calming activities, such as a warm bubble bath using our Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula, an infant massage, and a snuggly story. 

Be sure to set the stage for sweet dreams by closing the curtains, turning out the lights, and turning on the white noise machine.   

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we’re here to help make bedtime a breeze. Whether you’re about to start sleep training via Crib Hour or simply looking for melatonin-free sleep help, you can always count on us to supply the vitamin Zzzz!


Sources:

How Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle Differs From Your Own | Sleep Foundation

4-Month Infant Sleep Regression | Sleep Foundation

Perfecting Your Child's Bedtime Routine | Sleep Foundation

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