My twins wake up every morning between 5:00 and 5:30 am. They take a 2.5-3 hr nap anytime between 10:30/11 am. They fall asleep by 7:30pm. Why are they getting up at 5? We're so tired and cannot figure out what we are doing wrong. They used to sleep until 6/6:30, but for the last few months, that's gone out the window! Do we need a different schedule or just some tweaking? Help!!!!
From: SCP1229, Totowa, NJ
Just because they're twins doesn't mean they have the same sleep needs. It's possible one is an earlier riser and starts to chatter and wakes the other.
You won't know these individual differences as long as they are sleeping in the same room, so one tweak is to separate them temporarily and see what happens. They are, after all, individuals. If you had two different-aged sibs together, separating them would be a no-brainer, right?
Of course, if it turns out one would sleep later and one still gets up early, you've only solved half your problem. If that turns out to be the case, changing the nap times is the next tweak to try, that is, shortening the nap for the one who sleeps less at night.
None of this is easy on the parents (sigh) but then, if you had two differently-aged children, you could be in the same situation.
Which twin to move? In this best-selling revised edition of "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems," pediatric sleep specialist Richard Ferber writes: "Depending in part on the location of bedrooms, other sleep location options , and the severity of the problem to be addressed, sometimes it is best to move the twin who is having sleep problems and sometimes it is better to move the other one. Even if both twins are having problems, it may be easier to work with them separately, in separate rooms, and then consider putting them back together once the problems have been addressed."
You don't mention how old the twins are, but according to accepted most sleep charts (I'm looking right now at Ferber's on page 11 of his revised edition), a nap of 2 1/2 hours or more is no longer typical after 12 months. A 12 month old, for instance, needs a total of 11 3/4 hours of sleep per 24 hours, so if your twins are more than a year old, the length of the nap may, indeed, be the source of the problem.
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