What are False Starts in Baby Sleep?

false starts Jun 07, 2023

 “False starts” is one of those terms you probably don’t know anything about until you experience them yourself. Which if you have a baby, you most likely will, because they are VERY common!! 

So what the heck are they!? 

Well simply put, a false start is bedtime that didn’t go so great, lol. You put them to bed and they woke up after 30-45 minutes (that first sleep cycle) crying and not wanting to go back to sleep. It’s almost like they treated bedtime like a nap!! What the heck is that all about mate? It is so frustrating and can make you feel like you're doing something wrong! I've been there myself too!

Well let me tell you! False starts are usually caused by overtiredness or undertiredness at bedtime. If you’re not sure the difference between the two, make sure to read this blog here.

The most common culprit is definitely overtiredness, but I really don’t want you to feel badly about this. I experience false starts with both my children still here and there because life happens. Although I want to avoid it when I can, it’s just inevitable sometimes and I don’t want you to feel like you’re doing something wrong. You are not!! Babies are just super sensitive to things like this. Rest assured you are doing a great job ok!! 

The reason overtiredness causes these false starts at bedtime is because it causes a rise in cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and in turn makes it SO much harder to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. 

Ok, so what the heck do I do?! 

If these false starts are happening often, try to find out why.

In short, if your baby is falling asleep quickly, it is likely due to overtiredness, and I can help you to break the overtired cycle here. 

If your baby is taking longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep at bedtime, then the false start is likely due to under tiredness, and lack of sleep pressure. 

Here are a few things you can do to prevent false starts:

  1. Place baby to bed 15-20 minutes earlier than usual for a few days

  2. Work on daytime sleep - age appropriate naps prevention of built up overtiredness

  3. Go back to the basics of sleep - environment, sleep initiation, tired cues etc. 

So there you have it: false starts explained! 

It’s a tricky one, and it can take some time and learning and tuning into YOUR baby as an individual. Give yourself grace as you learn. Especially if you are a first time mum. It is hard enough with everything else you are learning, so give yourself a break for not being able to figure this out right away. It takes time, and practice! Much like everything else in life. You are doing amazing ok!!! The fact that you are reading this at all shows me that. Don’t let anyone tell you any different!

If you are just constantly struggling with every aspect of your baby's sleep and false starts, that’s where I come in! I’m really good at teaching you all about baby sleep.

The first thing you want to do is have a clear plan in place! If you’re really struggling & need support along with a step by step plan…I have got you covered!

CLICK HERE  If your baby is under 3 months old 

CLICK HERE  If your baby is 4-24 months old

 CLICK HERE  If your little one is 2-4 years old

If you need more help and you want someone to show you EXACTLY what to do, the Cozy Baby Sleep Course is a step-by-step program designed to teach you how to teach your baby to fall asleep on their own and sleep all night long. With personalized sleep plans, guidance on building a solid sleep foundation and creating a consistent sleep routine, the Cozy Baby Sleep Course can help you and your baby get the restful sleep you deserve. Learn more about the course here.

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