Looking to optimize your five-month old’s sleep? Learn the appropriate wake window for your 5-month old and other helpful sleep tips to ensure your 5-month old is getting the rest they need!
Five months old is such a fun age and stage! Your five-month old is really starting to show their personality now and may even start becoming mobile.
Rolling, scooting, and even some crawling keeps your 5-month old busy during their awake time!
Your 5-month old should also be past the 4-month sleep regression by now. If you’re still struggling with sleep problems at 5 months old, then it may no longer be a phase!
If your 5-month old is used to being fed or rocked to sleep, it may be time to sleep train to start teaching them independent sleep habits.
Another important factor to optimizing your baby’s sleep is using the right baby wake windows.
Keep your baby awake for too long and he’ll become overtired. Put him down for a nap too soon, and he’ll be under tired. It really can be a science getting your baby to sleep!
Most babies have moved past the 45-minute intruder by 5 months. If your baby is still waking up at the 45-minute mark, he likely needs a change in his awake time.
Wake Window for 5-Month Old
At 5-months old, your baby needs about 2 to 2.5 hours of awake time in between naps and before bedtime.
Typically the first wake window of the day is the shortest, being 2 hours, while the other wake windows throughout the day can be closer to 2.25 to 2.5 hours.
Using the right wake window will help optimize their nap lengths, avoid an overtired baby, and help them sleep through the night!
Here’s an example of a 5-month old schedule using the 2 to 2.5-hour wake window.
7:00 am: Baby wakes for the day and feeds
9:00–10:30 am: Nap
10:30 am: Feed
12:45 pm–2:15 pm: Nap
2:15 pm: Feed
4:30–5:00 pm: Catnap
5:00 pm: Small feed if needed
6:30 pm: Feed and baby’s bedtime routine
Grab my Baby Schedule Cheat Sheets to get baby wake windows for ages Newborn—4 years old. The Baby Schedule Cheat Sheets include nap lengths, wake windows, and sample schedules you can use up to 4 years old. They’re easy-to-follow and printable so you can use them at home, or leave them with a caregiver to keep your baby on track. Get them here!
How to Stretch Wake Windows
During those first six months, you’ll be changing and stretching your baby’s wake windows frequently. As soon as you feel like you have a good sleep schedule down, it will likely be time for a change!
Your 4-month old’s wake window was likely up to 2 hours.
The best way to stretch those wake windows to get him to the new 5-month old wake window is to add 15 minutes to each wake window for several days. Keep the new schedule for about 5 days before making additional changes.
If your baby starts to struggle with sleep, you want to give it some time before deciding the new wake window isn’t working.
You can also stretch one wake window at a time, if you want to transition your baby even more slowly. Start with the last wake window of the day and add 15 minutes to it for several days before messing with another wake window.
If your baby seems tired before their new wake window, try taking them outside or playing with a new toy with them. Sometimes they just need a little help to make it to the new wake window.
At this age, I go by wake windows more than your baby’s sleep cues. Some babies have very subtle sleep cues or none at all, while other’s sleep cues can be misleading!
My daughter usually seemed sleepy before her wake window ended. I had to take her outside to keep her awake for that extra 15 minutes, but then she would take a longer nap than if I put her down earlier.
Why is the First Wake Window the Shortest?
It seems odd that the first wake window of the day is usually the shortest amount of time, but many things regarding baby sleep are counterintuitive.
Even after sleeping 10 to 12 hours at night, most babies still have some built-up sleep pressure, making it harder for them to get through a long wake window in morning.
This is also why most babies take a great first nap. If you’re struggling to transition your baby to a crib, try starting with the first nap of the day.
As the day goes on, most babies are able to have a slightly longer wake window. For your 5-month old, start their first wake window at 1.75 to 2 hours, and then shift to about 2.25 to 2.5 hours for the rest of the day’s wake windows.
What Time Should a 5-Month Old Go to Bed?
Wondering what time your 5-month old should go to bed? It depends what time they woke up from their last nap of the day, but most babies thrive with a typical bedtime between 7 and 8 pm.
For example, if your baby’s last nap ends at 5:00 pm, then a 7:00/7:15 pm bedtime will work great. This gives them 2 to 2.25 hours of awake time before bed, which is appropriate for their age.
Should you Wake a 5-Month Old from A Nap?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “never wake a sleeping baby” but it’s not a mantra I live by! There are times when it’s appropriate to wake a sleeping baby. If your 5-month old is sleeping too late in the afternoon, and it will interfere with bedtime, wake them!
For example, if it’s 5:00 pm and bedtime is typically 7:30 pm, wake your 5-month old so they have enough time to fit in their 2.5-hour wake window before bed.
I always recommend giving yourself about 30 minutes flexibility in either direction. So if you want to let your baby keep sleeping a bit longer, you’ll just push bedtime back so they can get in their 2.5-hour wake window before bed.
I hope this helps you figure out your 5 month old wake window and optimize your baby’s sleep!