Catherine Completely Baby Sleep Consultant

Catherine Thompson
Baby Sleep Consultant & Owner of Completely Baby

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Every parent knows that sleep is vital for their baby’s health and wellbeing, as well as their ongoing growth and development.

You’ll find their early weeks and months are dominated by sleep, making sure they get enough, and usually lots of worrying about what ‘enough’ looks like!

Around three to four months is when you’ll notice significant changes in how your baby sleeps as they start to develop a more consistent sleep pattern. Now is the time to focus on getting them settled with a lovely sleep routine that aids their ongoing development in this area.

Getting an understanding of your babies Awake Windows can really help you establish a flexible daily rhythm.

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What Are Baby Awake Windows?

Awake windows are pretty much what they sound like: the amount of time your baby is awake between naps and bed time.

Depending on your baby’s age, they will have a general amount of time to comfortably be awake before they need more sleep.

Here’s what I generally recommend as an appropriate awake window by crucial age groups:


1-3 Weeks Awake Window: 40-60mins
4-8 weeks Awake Window: 60-90mins
2-3 Months Awake Window: 60-90 minutes
4-6 Months Awake Window: 2-2.5 hours
7-9 Months Awake Window: 2-3 hours
10-12 Months Awake Window: 3-4 hours
1 – 2 Years Awake Window: 4-5 hours
2 – 3 Years Awake Window: 5–6 hours

It’s important to remember: every baby is different, and there are lots of things that can impact the amount of time they’re awake and asleep, including how long their naps are, how rested they are after longer periods of sleep if they’re unwell and plenty of other environmental scenarios.

Keep these awake windows in mind as a general guide and bear in mind that the first awake window your baby has will most likely be the shortest.

Why Are Awake Windows Important?

Awake windows play an essential role in helping you make sure your baby gets the right amount of sleep they need based on their age requirements – and it also helps you manage under and over tiredness:

An Overtired Baby: You might find they start to become very unsettled and harder to calm down for sleep. An overtired baby can be challenging to settle, so knowing the awake windows guide for your baby’s age can help you ensure you meet their sleep needs before this happens.

An Undertired Baby: Similarly, if you try to put your baby down to nap or sleep when they’re too awake, they may struggle to settle and fall asleep. Tuning into your baby and considering what they have been doing during their awake time will support you in finding the optimal sleep window to settle your baby.

As a parent of a young baby or toddler, awake windows can be a handy guide that help support you knowing when your baby may be ready for sleep.

How to Use Awake Windows to Aid Sleep Routines

As you might already be thinking, it’s not as simple as knowing how long your baby should be awake before you put them down to sleep – there’s no set manual around this, unfortunately!

Awake windows work best in conjunction with knowing your baby’s sleep cues. When you marry their general awake window with the signs that they’re starting to feel ready to sleep, you should be able to successfully meet their sleep needs and create a smooth transition from awake to asleep for them.

Sleepy cues can vary from baby to baby, but some of the most common ones include (not age specific)

Becoming less vocal and lots of yawning.
Long blank stares / glazed eyes.
Jerky movements.
Eyes and/or around their eyebrows might be slightly red, and they may rub their eyes and display drooping eyelids.
General fussiness, hiccups and sucking on fingers or hands.

Going with the earlier sleep cues will support your baby to settle for sleep more easily.

As your baby grows and their sleep patterns become more settled, you can use both awake windows and their sleepy cues to help you adjust their sleep pattern and get them into more of a sleep routine.

Here are a couple of tips to help you do this:

Focus on overall under tiredness: The key with wake windows is to find the balance that works for your baby. You’ll want them to be fatigued enough to gently fall asleep but not overtired so that it’s challenging to get them down.

Go slow and steady: When you need to extend your baby’s awake window, it’s important to do this in small increments. I recommend putting your baby down 10-15 minutes later than usual to start stretching their awake window. Don’t worry if this takes a little experimenting to get right – remember to observe sleepy cues as you tweak these timeframes, and you’ll get there.


  1. What is an awake window?

    An awake window is the amount of time your baby should be awake between periods of sleep, including naps. It varies depending on your baby’s age

  2. How long should awake windows be?

    Awake windows vary from age to age and, generally speaking, will increase as your baby gets older. For example, the awake window for a 1-3 week old is between 40 and 60 minutes, whereas the awake window for a 10-12-month-old can be between 2 and 4 hours.

  3. Why are awake windows so important?

    Awake windows help you to manage your baby’s sleep pattern and routines as they develop. They can also help you ensure that your baby is getting the right amount of sleep for their age and generally help you better understand your baby’s unique sleep needs.

  4. How do babies get overtired?

    Babies become overtired when their awake window has been stretched beyond what’s appropriate for them based on their age. While you can begin to gradually increase your baby’s awake windows as they get older, this should be done slowly and steadily, taking sleep cues into account alongside the amount of time they’re awake. Their level of physical activity and their temperament will also play a part in this.

Remember: Awake Windows Are Just A Guide

As with so many things around babies and sleep – there is no one-size-fits-all approach we should follow. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of valuable guides we can draw upon and apply to our babies to support them in the right way.

Knowing about awake windows and how to apply them with your baby is one such resource, so now you know – you can start using them more strategically to help your baby get the sleep they need and proactively transition to a more structured sleep pattern.

And if you’re still feeling unsure, that’s exactly what I’m here for!

Book a completely free chat with me here today, and let’s help your baby on their way to better sleep.

Related Tag: Best Sleep Consultant

Catherine Completely Baby Sleep Consultant

Catherine Thompson
Baby Sleep Consultant & Owner of Completely Baby

Did you find this article helpful? I am a highly experienced baby sleep consultant with a unique educational and healthcare background who supports tired parents to help their babies find sleep more easily. If you want to chat about your situation please book in a free chat today by clicking the below button now! Alternatively you can text or call me on: +61 406 344 010.