Sleep schedule – explanation and how to get started

When your baby is having difficulties sleeping, sleeps poorly every day or wakes up too early in the morning there are different approaches to improve this. Following a sleep schedule is one way trying to change the poor sleeping habits and hopefully making a difference.

Sleep schedule: baby

The following information about sleep schedules is based on Helen Lyng Hansen’s book: ”Helens bog om børn og søvn (Helen’s book about about children and sleep)”.

You can find sleep schedules for the appropriate age at the bottom of this blog post.

Sleep schedule: Explanation

A sleep schedule provides an example of what a daily routine might look like for your baby at a certain age. The sleep schedules indicate optimum sleep duration depending on his/her age.

Sleep schedule benefits

The benefits of following a sleep schedule are implementing more structure into your daily life and hopefully establishing a good routine and sleeping habits for your baby. If your current routine does not work for you, e.g., if your baby wakes up too early in the morning (05:00 am or earlier), it makes sense trying to shift the daily routine a bit using the sleep schedule.

TIPS: How to get started

It can seem rather overwhelming getting started on the sleep schedules. As new parents your energy reserves are never 100 % and you might be considering whether its worth investing so much energy in a sleep schedule since this probably is an entirely new concept for you and you are unsure how your baby will respond.

Remember all babies are different meaning if your baby sleeps less than described in the sleep schedules it is normal and does not indicate that something is wrong with your baby. It is important to mention that you should never wake your baby to make him/her fit into the schedule.

Basically, your baby’s current sleep routine does not matter when you begin working on the sleep schedules. You can use them regardless. Also, if your baby already has a fixed routine of waking up too early in the morning which probably is not ideal for you or your baby.

How to adjust the daily routine

The way to adjust the daily routine to better match the sleep schedule is by prolonging the awake period by 15 minutes every day. It is only 15 minutes and hereby manageable for your baby and you. It is very important that it never becomes intolerable for either of you. By doing this you help your baby gradually sleep longer and make it easier keeping him/her awake and thus making it possible to adjust the daily routine. However please be patient as this can be rather challenging, and it takes time changing habits. It might take several weeks before you start seeing noticeable changes/results. So even if your baby keeps waking up early or maybe even sleeps worse in the beginning, have patience, and keep pushing the daily routine 15 minutes each day to turn the poor sleeping habit around.

Please remember when you adjust the awake period by 15 minutes, you must also adjust all other routines: like naps, meals, activities etc.

Please see below blog posts for an overview of the different sleep schedules.

Find the sleep schedule that fits your baby’s age here

Depending on the age there are different recommendations for sleep schedules. Remember all babies are different and it’s important to pay attention to what works for your family.


What is a sleep schedule?

A sleep schedule provides an example of what a daily routine might look like for your baby at a certain age.