There are a lot of other things that I would be changing before then before I tried to resettle to get them to link their sleep cycles. One of them is the appropriate wakeful period. A lot of the time I see cat nappers actually awake way too long between naps. A cat napper is going to be doing that a lot of the time because they’re so over tired. Appropriate wakeful periods is definitely one of the things that we would be addressing first. Sleep environment is the next. Is the room dark enough? Is there white noise on? So that when they come to the top of that sleep cycle, everything sounds the same.
If it was all quiet in the house when they started to go to sleep, but then during their nap you start watching TV while they were then coming to the top of their sleep cycle, then their brain knows that something’s different and they’ll wake up. White noise can be fantastic to help them link those cycles. What I generally say to my clients is that if your baby’s a cat napper and you want to help them to resettle, I would say try resettling for maybe five minutes or so, but if it hasn’t worked in that time, just get out of there.
Honestly, resettling can sometimes just be like the work of the devil. I have so many clients tell me that they’re like, “Oh yeah, so I go back in to resettle after this 40-minute cat nap. I rock and rock and pat and pat and pat and rock and rock and I do all of this stuff. Normally about after 45 minutes or so, I can get them back to sleep again.” I would argue that you probably just spent your whole wakeful period in the room rocking and patting when it might have been more beneficial to have your Bubba come out of the room, sit with you while you have a sandwich and some potato chips and then pop them back in at an appropriate time, ready for that next nap.
I guess my answer is, resettle if you think it might work and you’re particularly good at resettling. If it can work within five minutes great, bonus, that’s awesome. If it doesn’t normally and you’re driving yourself absolutely mental just forget it. Don’t worry about it, don’t twist yourself into a pretzel worrying about resettling. Just pop your Bubba out and adjust the next wakeful period, the age appropriate wakeful period, adjust it to be slightly less until the next nap, on account of the fact that they’ve only had a cat nap.
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