I often find my son awake in the middle of the night, sometimes for hours. I have only come to know this recently as I have a baby and when o wake up for her I check his monitor around 2am. He NEVER cries for us. He is awake for extended periods even after we have gone in for milk. I don’t know if he is hungry—I have even dream feed him milk at 11pm but he has not taken more than 3oz -4oz. This is causing problems with daytime irritability and low frustration tolerance. He needs to learn to sleep.

So sleep history: he was hard to read as infant—likely kept awake for longer stretches than he should have been. At 7 months dropped AM NAP and took a giant 5 hr nap about 11-4 (In retrospect this was not a healthy choice). Slept at night about 7pm-5 or 6am. Slowly the nap shortened to the current 1-4 pm. He cannot function without a 2.5 hr nap and could go 3.5 hrs if we let him. He now sleeps 8pm to 6:30am on average. So you are probably thinking—-shorten his afternoon nap.

I did this for 6 weeks: we tapered his nap to 2 hrs Or even less but then he wouldn’t fall asleep at night until 9pm or beyond bc I was told he was overtired and I believe that. I would let this go for a week at a time thinking he would adjust but it got worse. The longer nap helps him sleep easier at night. I even took the nap away completely on few occasions and he was a nightmare and the same overtired/wired situation resulted.

I have made sure he gets 45-60 min of boisterous play—which for a slender child without much hunger drive may be too much and that also seems to have made him overtired or too wired to sleep—boisterous play was cut off 2 hrs before sleep. He uses my phone 0-20 min a day, on average 6-7 min and never 1 hour before sleep (blue light affects melatonin).

I give him a bottle before bed and had even started to add half and half in an attempt to fill his belly lest he be waking from hunger. When he was overtired and not sleeping until 9pm I brought it up to the ped. He suggested melatonin. So now we have been giving him 0.25mg at 7pm and Put him down between 730 and 7:45 PM. He is asleep by 8 PM. The melatonin seems to work beautifully, but I also wonder if it wears off in the middle of the night?

Although a dose of melatonin in the evening is supposed to help not only with initiation of sleep but maintenance of sleep. So I feel by giving him that giant nap for so many months of his short life it has become ingrained in him. He lives for that nap and I can’t take it away or shorten it for the life of me and maybe that is affecting nighttime sleep. But, he’s only getting 13 hours of sleep at max. Average of 12. Sometimes as little as 11 If he had trouble settling himself to nap or sleep.These total amount seem about average for a child his age

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    Can you please put all of the new details from your comments into the original post and also add a clear question to go along with it? Jun 8, 2020 at 5:23
  • Hi Chef - I have edited your comments into the post, but I still am not sure what your core question is. If you can articulate that, as @SomeShinyObject says, we can look at reopening.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 15, 2020 at 13:37
  • Being awake in the night is boring. It's all dark, there are no toys, it's totally not interesting. Being awake during the day is fun! it's light and time to play. So what if he's up in the night? If he's happy, leave him be. As long as he's averaging enough sleep time in general. A child his age doesn't need to be fed overnight. Remember also he may not necessarily be sleeping for the entire naptime, unless you're watching him every moment you won't know. My 2yo daughter has a dedicated 2 hour window for naps (1pm to 3pm) and she doesn't always sleep the entire time.
    – stan
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


I've used melatonin to help occasionally as well! I really do think breaking-up his nap to two naps or just shortening the current 5 hours one will probably be a good idea. When my daughter was transitioned to daycare, they completely changed the timing and duration of her nap to match with the daycare schedule, which gives me hope that you can probably do the same at home too! Good luck with whatever you choose!

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