As a baby sleep coach, I often receive concerns from parents about their 5 month old not sleeping well. If you’re one of these parents, know that you’re not alone. Many parents face this challenge as their babies reach this age. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help your baby sleep better.

 

Let me share a story about one of my clients, Sarah and Dennis. Their 5-month-old baby, Liam, was not sleeping well, and they were feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Liam would wake up every hour, crying and needing to be fed or rocked back to sleep.

Sarah and Dennis were struggling to function during the day, feeling constantly tired and stressed. They knew they needed to get Liam sleeping better, not only for their own sanity but also for his development and growth.

As they worked with me, we created a customized sleep plan for Liam that addressed his unique needs and challenges. Within a few weeks, Liam was sleeping longer and more deeply, and Sarah and Dennis felt like they had their lives back. They were happier, more rested parents, and Liam was thriving with better sleep.

 

There’s a lot of things that we worked on to get Liam sleeping well from teaching him how to sleep without his sleep props to creating a fun and consistent bedtime routine. And I am going to share a few of those tips with you today.

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5 Month Old Not Sleeping Because of Developmental Changes

 At 5 months old, a baby goes through several developmental changes that can affect their sleep patterns. Changes, such as learning to roll over and sit up, can cause discomfort and make it difficult for the baby to find a comfortable sleeping position. Additionally, teething can be a painful process that may disrupt sleep and cause your 5 month old not sleeping well.

As their cognitive skills improve, babies become more curious and interested in their surroundings, making it harder for them to settle down and fall asleep. Furthermore, babies at this age experience rapid brain development, which can lead to more vivid dreams and night wakings.

It’s important to understand these developmental changes and adjust your baby’s sleep routine and environment accordingly to help them get the rest they need. A consistent and age-appropriate sleep schedule can help your baby navigate these changes and improve their overall sleep quality. 

5 Month Old Not Sleeping Because of Sleep Associations

If your baby has formed a habit of relying on certain sleep associations such as rocking or nursing to fall asleep, they may have difficulty falling back asleep without them.

Sleep associations can cause a 5 month old baby to wake up throughout the night because they rely on these associations to fall asleep and don’t know how to self-soothe when they wake up between sleep cycles.

For example, if your baby associates being bounced or rocked with falling asleep, they may expect the same experience when they wake up in the middle of the night. 

And this means that when they wake up in the night, they’re expecting to still be in your arms. Then when they realize they’re not in your arms anymore and are actually alone in their crib, they most likely will cry and have difficulty falling back asleep. And we don’t want that! 

As a result, you may find yourself repeatedly soothing and comforting your little one throughout the night.

This can create a cycle where your baby becomes dependent on the sleep association to fall asleep, and you as their parents become exhausted from providing the association every time the baby wakes up.

Does this sound like what you might be going through? Then keep reading!  

 

Bedtime for 5 Month Old

A 5 month old baby should go to bed between 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, with the ideal bedtime being around 7:00 PM. Babies at this age require around 12-15 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, which includes both daytime naps and nighttime sleep.

I know that a 7 p.m. bedtime may seem insanely early for us as adults, but trust me, for your baby it is not. Their body’s natural body clock does have them ready for sleep around this time. And if you keep them up much later than this, your 5 month old will be fighting sleep because they’re up past when their circadian rhythm has them ready for sleep.

To determine the best bedtime for your 5 month old baby, observe their sleep patterns and choose a time when they are naturally drowsy and ready to sleep.

Is swaddling a newborn necessary

By establishing a consistent bedtime routine and sticking to a regular sleep schedule, you can help your 5 month old baby establish healthy sleep habits that will benefit them throughout their life. Having a consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your baby that it’s time to sleep. A typical bedtime routine might include a warm bath, followed their bedtime feed, a story, then a lullaby before being put down to sleep.

Your bedtime routine should last between 30 – 40 minutes at 5 months old. If it goes on too long, your baby may begin getting overtired, which can make it much more challenging for them to fall asleep.

Keep in mind that every baby is different, and their sleep needs may vary depending on their individual habits and temperament. So you may need to play around with the timing of their bedtime to find the time that works best for your family and for your baby.

 

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Follow Proper Awake Windows to Avoid Your 5 Month Old Fighting Sleep

Following proper awake windows is important to get a 5 month old  baby sleeping well because it ensures that your baby is getting the right amount of sleep. It also helps to make sure your baby is not becoming overtired or overstimulated. Awake windows refer to the amount of time your baby is awake between naps or before bedtime.

Babies at this age have specific sleep needs and require a balance of awake time and sleep time to feel rested and refreshed. If a baby is kept awake for too long, they can become overtired, making it difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.

On the other hand, if a baby is kept awake for too short a time, they may not be tired enough to fall asleep easily. Following appropriate awake windows will help ensure that your baby is well-rested and can establish healthy sleep patterns.

 

On the other hand, if a baby is kept awake for too short a time, they may not be tired enough to fall asleep easily. Following appropriate awake windows will help ensure that your baby is well-rested and can establish healthy sleep patterns.

To determine the appropriate awake window for your baby, observe their sleep patterns and take note of how long they are able to stay awake before becoming fussy or showing signs of tiredness. A typical awake window for a 5 month old baby is around 2 hours.

And that 2 hour awake window will typically put your 5 month old on a 3 nap a day schedule. Although if you’re seeing shorter naps, you may need to throw in a fourth nap to ensure that your baby isn’t awake too long before bedtime.

By establishing and following a consistent sleep schedule that includes appropriate awake windows, you can help your  month old baby get the sleep they need to thrive.

Create a Good Sleep Environment

Ensure that your baby’s sleeping environment is quiet, cool, and dark to promote better sleep. Creating a conducive sleep environment is important for a 5 month old baby to help them sleep well and stay asleep. The environment should be comfortable, quiet, and safe, allowing your baby to feel secure and relaxed.

Start by choosing a comfortable and supportive crib or bassinet, and ensure that it is free of loose blankets, pillows, or toys that could pose a suffocation hazard. Since your baby is under a year of age, we want to make sure there’s nothing in the crib except the mattress with the fitted sheet, and your baby on top of that in an arms free sleep sack.

Keep the room temperature at a comfortable level, between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, to prevent your baby from overheating or becoming too cold. That’s the temperature that I find more 5 month old babies sleep best in.

Use blackout window covers or shades to create a dark and calming environment, which can help your baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. A nice, dark, cool room will help your baby sleep longer in the mornings and take better naps during the daytime. 

 Consider using a white noise machine to create a consistent and soothing background noise, which can help mask other noises that might wake your baby. The world is a noisy place! Whether it’s the neighbor’s dog barking, or the garbage truck driving by, you want to help buffer that noise to help your baby continue to sleep during those noises. My favorite white noise machine is the Hatch.

Avoid Overstimulation

 Overstimulation refers to a situation where a baby is exposed to too many sensory stimuli, such as bright lights, loud noises, or excessive movement, that their brain is not yet able to process or handle.

When your baby is overstimulated, it can make it more difficult for them to fall asleep, and they may become fussy or irritable.

One reason overstimulation can make it harder for a baby to sleep is that their developing brains are not yet able to filter out or ignore unnecessary sensory input.

This means that when they are exposed to too much stimulation, their brains become overloaded and they may struggle to calm down and settle into a sleep state.

 

Is swaddling a newborn necessary

 

Additionally, overstimulation can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. When a baby is exposed to bright lights or electronic screens before bedtime, it can suppress the release of melatonin and disrupt their natural sleep rhythms.

Furthermore, when a baby is overstimulated, they may become overly tired and have difficulty winding down. This can lead to overactive behavior, fussiness, and resistance to sleep.

So avoid screen time before putting your baby down to sleep and keep their bedtime and nap time routines calming.

Want to Learn My Step by Step Methods to Get Your Baby to Sleep?

Encourage Self Soothing

Earlier we talked about how one of the reasons your baby may not be sleeping well could be because they don’t have the skills needed to soothe themselves. They might require you to do something in order for them to fall asleep. Your baby may need you to pat them, rocking them, or feed them to sleep. And as a result, when they wake up in between sleep cycles, they’re going to expect the same thing from you in order to get back to sleep.

And I get how scary it can be thinking about how you’ll get them to sleep without needing all that assistance before. Is there a way to do it without having to leave them alone to cry it out? There is actually!

Over the last 10 years, I’ve perfected my gentle sleep training methods and I can’t wait for you to learn them! If you’re ready to learn my proven step by step gentle sleep training strategies to get your baby falling asleep easily, sleeping through the night (or just waking up for their feed), and taking awesome naps during the day, then you’d be a great fit for my gentle sleep training course Live Love Sleep Academy.

I can’t wait to get your baby sleeping well!

About the Author

I’m Kaley Medina, the proud founder of Live Love Sleep®. I live in Texas with my husband and high school sweetheart, Zeke, along with our two wonderful children, Evalyn and Leo, and our furry companion, Louie.
My journey into the world of sleep consultancy began with the sleep struggles of my own daughter, Evalyn. From her early days, she proved to be a challenging sleeper, staying awake for waaaaaay too long and causing many sleepless nights. I tried everything I could think of, from feeding her to sleep to bouncing on a yoga ball until my legs ached to the delicate process of transitioning her to her crib without waking her. I even resorted to late-night vacuuming while wearing her in a baby carrier….needless to say, none of it work.

The constant sleep deprivation left me frazzled and unable to enjoy precious moments with my family. Desperate for a solution, I ventured into the world of sleep training when Evalyn turned six months. To my surprise,

 

gentler methods yielded incredible results, transforming our lives. Fueled by this success, I became a Certified Sleep Consultant and founded Live Love Sleep®. As your Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I understand that a child’s sleep is influenced by various factors, including diet, sleep environment, routines, schedules, developmental milestones, and so much more.

I craft personalized sleep plans that consider the bigger picture to solve your child’s sleep challenges comprehensively. What sets my services apart is the ongoing support I provide, ensuring your family reaches its sleep goals within weeks.

A former client described the experience as “utterly LIFE CHANGING.” I’m committed to helping parents like you and your child get the rest you need and deserve. Let’s work together to achieve better sleep and a happier, healthier family life.

Features

Kaley has been featured on numerous podcasts, on NBC, CBS, Yahoo!, Forbes, Texas Today, MindBodyGreen, WonderBaby.org, Work & Mother, Homes and Gardens, TinyBeans, and more!