Does mouth breathing affect my child’s sleep?

Does mouth breathing affect my child’s sleep?

If your child has trouble sleeping, or wakes up during the night it could be that you have a mouth breather on your hands. As a baby sleep coach, I see how common mouth breathing is in young children and how this could be the reason your child is not sleeping through the night, so read on to see Mouth Breathing could be affecting your child or baby’s sleep.

mouth breathing baby sleeping

Why might my child breathe through their nose?

For the first few months of their lives, newborn babies breathe pretty much exclusively through their nose unless there’s a reason they can’t such as having a blockage in their nasal passage, usually because your little one has a cold.  In a bid to keep taking in oxygen, they will use their mouth to breathe because their nose is not up to the job.  A more long-term reason for nasal congestion could be allergies that hinder a child’s airway and forces them to use their mouth to breathe.  Because symptoms from allergies are over a longer period of time, this is more likely to encourage new (and bad) habits of resorting to breathing through the mouth even after the airway is cleared.

asian girl sleeping in the bed

Why is it a problem if my child breathes through their mouth?

When it comes to mouth breathing, there are several factors that make it something to avoid.  Both doctors and dentists suggest many side effects of mouth breathing that can cause your child discomfort and even lead to more long-term problems developing.  In young children, breathing solely through the mouth can cause dry mouth and contribute to crooked teeth.  It can lead to physical abnormalities if left to continue over a longer period of time and it can also cause dental problems as well contributing to a disrupted sleeping pattern. 

baby sleeping on the side in their cot

Are there any benefits to breathing through your nose?

Breathing through the nose is a more efficient way of using oxygen, which in turn leads to producing Nitric oxide which aids your immune system in tackling infections.  The mucus and tiny hairs in your nose also help to filter out unwanted small particles such as germs, dust or pollen and stop them from entering your lungs.  Breathing in a more efficient breath full of oxygen also helps improve brain functions and blood flow around our bodies. It helps us breathe into our lungs, air that is full of moisture as well as helping to warm the air before it gets there.  Plus it is usually quieter for the parents listening on the baby monitor!

child sleeping with mouth open mouth breathing or snoring

How do I know if my child is a mouth breather?

Young children may not be able to tell you that they have symptoms like an adult would, as they may not be able to explain what is happening to them.  There are, however, some symptoms you can look for in children which include: slower than normal growth; irritability or crying episodes during the night; dry mouth or lips; trouble concentrating for a length of time and being sleepy throughout the day.

Why is mouth breathing causing my child to have a restless night?

Mouth breathing, rather than nose breathing, can lead to your child experiencing interrupted or reduced breathing. This means their body will react to that by restarting their breathing, potentially with a snort or gasp that will in turn wake your child up.  Less oxygen to the brain also means their brains won’t get enough rest so will be more tired throughout the day.  It also means they may want to nap or go to bed early which again means good sleeping patterns are disrupted. Because of some of these factors, children have in the past been wrongly diagnosed with ADHD (research shows) due to their sharing of symptoms such as restlessness or a lack of concentration when in fact it is a much more simple case of sleep deprivation. 

toddler sleeping with mouth open mouth breathing

How can I help my child breathe through their nose?

If your child is breathing through their mouth because of an obvious problem such as an illness blocking their nose, then you can treat that in the same ways you would normally, such as by using a nasal spray or appropriate medication to ease the congestion.  If the problem is to do with allergies, then things to keep the air clear like a dehumidifier will help alleviate a blocked nose.  

If your child is no longer ill and is still breathing through their mouth, then it might be advisable to get them checked out by your GP just to check if they have enlarged tonsils or adenoids (which are patches of tissue in the throat).
You can actively encourage children who are able to understand to do breathing exercises so they can become more aware of their nose breathing.  This can help instil good breathing habits that will eventually become natural to them so that they can hopefully continue this through the night. 
Lastly creating a calm and relaxing environment free of stress and maybe adding in some yoga and deep breathing into the calming down bedtime routine to also help to reinforce this. 

Cute snorts and adorable sleeping babies aside, nothing is more important than our baby’s health and by treating the little sniffles as soon as possible, it can be so beneficial to their health now and in the future as well as making sure that your child (as well as the parents) get a much coveted good night’s sleep.

If your child is waking up too early in the morning to start their day, there may be other factors at work! Take a look at our Early Rising Sleep Guide to help your little one sleep until a reasonable wake-up time.




Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

How can I help my baby sleep through Fireworks?

How can I help my baby sleep through Fireworks?

A night with fireworks can be a stressful time for anyone with children or pets and as the weather turns colder we know that Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve are both just around the corner.  You may worry how your baby or toddler will get a good night’s sleep while the noise from the fireworks is going on outside so I have come up with some top tips for helping your baby, and you, get a good night’s sleep using my experience as a baby sleep coach.

mum reading books to her daughter at bedtime before she goes to sleep

1. Time your baby’s sleep just right.  

The deeper the sleep your baby is in, the less likely it is that the bangs and screeches outside will disturb them.  For parents, this might mean moving your child’s routine slightly earlier so that they will be asleep early enough to have fallen into a deep sleep long before the fireworks begin.

2. Let them know what is happening.

If your child is a bit older, you can prepare them by explaining about the loud noises that they may hear if they do happen to wake up in the night. Let them know that it is nothing to worry about and they are fine to go back to sleep.  You may even want to show your child some videos or sounds of the fireworks on quiet to put it into a more simple context for them.

3. Change up your bookshelf

As well as the examples above for aiding your child’s understanding, you could team this with sharing a few books with your child about the dark and fireworks celebrations to help illustrate the point that fireworks are not scary and the noises are nothing to fear.  You can show them pictures of fireworks to show how beautiful they can be and also show illustrations of children enjoying a fireworks display.

family watching fireworks

4. Disguise the noise

What makes a white noise machine so great is that is can hide any ambient noises (especially surprise or sudden and unusual ones as referenced in this study on the effect of noise on sleep) that might otherwise wake your child during the night.  Consider using one if you don’t already and maybe even turn it up so they have the subtle sounds of white noise to fall asleep to, rather than the potentially more scary sounds of loud fireworks going off.   You can read the pros and cons of white noise here.

5. Keep the routine the same

It may be tempting to shorten or skip naps in the hope your baby will go to sleep a little earlier, but it’s the consistency of their routine, as well as making sure they don’t become too over-tired, that will help your child to sleep as they normally would.

6. Plan food for sleep

Did you know that some foods can help your child to have a good nights sleep? Make your bonfire night tea and snacks up of foods that contain melatonin, vitamin B6 and vitamin C to help aid sleep.  For more information, read our earlier blog on foods that will help your baby sleep better.

father reassuring his child lying in the cot stroking his baby's head

7. Be prepared for bed

If you are wanting to enjoy some firework festivities, then go fully prepared with things your child needs for bedtime.  Get them changed into their pyjamas and complete any other of your usual night time activities before you leave the celebrations, and you might be lucky enough that they fall asleep on the way home and then be able to transfer them straight to bed.  For children who wake up when you transfer them, do a shortened version of your usual night time routine with them to send them back soundly to sleep. You could try playing an audiobook on the car drive home to replace their bedtime story, for instance. Hopefully combined with the previous tips, your child will find that even though it is bonfire night that sleep comes as easily to them as any other night.

8. Stay calm and control your emotions

Probably the most important tip is to think about how you react yourself.  Your child will sense your anxieties or frustrations, so let them wash over your head so your child can feel calm, relaxed and positive, just like you.  Just remember, fireworks do not last forever and normal sleep will resume before you know it.  Also don’t fuss or assume your child will be frightened as this will actually encourage this to be true.


Hopefully you will find that these tips will ease your fireworks night worries but if you need any extra information about getting your child to sleep on any other night of the year why not check out my sleep guides or you can check out our  1 : 1 consultation services 

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.


  1. Lee et al, ‘Effect of Noise on Sleep and Autonomic Activity in Children according to Source’ (National library of Medicine, 09 August 2021) <> accessed 31 October 2022.

F Jiang, ‘Sleep and Early Brain Development’ (Karger, June 2020) <> accessed 31 October 2022

Why is My Child Waking Early?

Why is My Child Waking Early?

As a baby sleep coach and parent, I know that some of the scariest questions you can hear when raising a child are “Is your baby a good sleeper?” and “Does your child sleep through the night?”.  It becomes the standard by which we judge our parenting – whether we get a good night’s sleep, or whether the bags under our eyes tell a very different tale. You begin to wonder how others seem to manage it while you feel doomed to restless nights and early mornings and even though you have to remember that every child is different, there are a few things that you can do to try and make supporting your child to sleep through the night easier for your family.

stressed mum wit child jumping on the sofa

So Why Does My Child Wake up Early?

Your child may be waking up for many different reasons.  Some of these are easily solvable but here are some of the most common. 

1. Do you really know much your child needs to sleep?

Too much sleep during the day when it comes to nap time may be the reason your child doesn’t need as much as you were hoping they would at night.

 2. Is their bedtime the right time?

If as above they only need a set number of hours sleep, then if there bedtime is not right they could already be getting all the sleep they need and that is why they are waking up early.

3. Old habits are hard to crack.

If your child had adjusted their body clocks to waking up at a certain time then it may have become natural to them.  With a little patience though, these habits can be broken.

4. Check your child’s environment.

Check if there is something else that happens at the same time as your child wakes up.  Maybe the heating comes on at that time and the radiator makes a noise or maybe it’s the time light comes streaming in.   Checking for things in your child’s environment means you can rule another possible cause out.

5. Is your child still comfortable?  

A full nappy or hunger pangs  maybe what is waking them up if they have had too much to drink or too little to eat before bed. 

6. Did your child have a good day?

Your child may wake up unsettled by something that happened during the day that may have upset them or frustrated them

7. Are genetics the problem?

If your child is a morning person then they may have got it from their parents. It may just be something that runs in the family

8. Is it possible that my child is just an early riser?

Early rising could definitely just be a part of who they are.  For some children it is natural for them to wake up and be ready to start the day bright and early. Their biological clock might just be set earlier than other children and unfortunately after everything else has been ruled out it may just be something you will have to work out a new life routine around.  Just remember though, it won’t last forever.   Children’s sleep patterns change all the time but until then, a few changes to your own routine to help you cope with the early mornings will probably be the best way forward.

However before you resign your life to seeing more sunrises than you’d like, bellow are some of the things you can do you to help with early rising.

little boy ready in bed for his bedtime routine

So What Can I Do To Stop my Child Waking Early?


1. Is your child up when the sun is up?

With a little investigation at the right times, you can check how much light is coming into your child’s room and where it is landing.  Light equals day time which to a child equals playtime so keep it out of your room until you are ready and consider a blackout blind if needed.

2. Did you check for environmental noises that might be creating an early alarm clock?

It may take you getting up a little bit before your child’s usual wake up time to spot it but it will be worth it to hear those noisy radiators that come alive when the heating comes on.  By doing this it may be obvious exactly what it waking your child up and you have a problem to be fixed. A white noise machine might help disguise any environmental noises and prevent them from becoming an alarm clock for your child.

3. Are you keeping the mornings calm and steady?

If as soon as your child wakes up they have a full on morning of their favourite things, then there is no wonder your child wants to jump right out of bed and start their day.  Having a calm morning routine, making sure they get dressed and ready for the day and then doing relaxing and none strenuous activities like colouring, reading or simple puzzles are less likely to encourage your child to rush out of bed unlike ‘rewarding’ them with watching TV at 5am.

4. Is your child is waking up because of hunger?

Then later or more fuller evening meals may help.  This may mean you have to decrease snacks to try and encourage them to eat more substantial food in the evening. Here are some sleepy foods you should introduce in their evening meals.

5. Have you assessed your child’s sleep routines?

Too early to bed may mean that they have already had all the sleep they need by the time they get up at silly o’clock in the morning.  Adding an extra hour to their bedtime might get you that extra hour you crave in the morning. You can check your child’s sleep needs here. Maybe it’s the opposite and your child is too late to bed. Being overtired means your child is not getting a good nights sleep and it is more likely to be restless rather than fall into the deep sleep they really need.

Creating a relaxing environment for your child to chill and get in the right frame of mind ready for bed is going to promote a much less stressful situation.  Activities like colouring or reading are perfect because they avoid screens and don’t over-excite your child into having an additional burst of energy just before you want them to drift off to sleep.

7. While we are on the subject of sleep patterns, does your child really still need a nap for that long?

Or even a nap at all for that matter.  If your child only needs 10 hours sleep and they are already having 2 during the day then maybe they only need 8 at night time and that’s why they are waking up earlier than you would like.  This may take a bit of trial and error but hopefully as you attempt new sleep patterns it shouldn’t take long to see a difference one way or another and for you to know that this could be the problem.  Don’t get into a bad cycle of needing early naps because they have risen early and then needing an early bedtime because that is going to create bad habits and suck you into a terrible cycle.

tired baby yawning

How To Stop Your Child from Waking Early?

This blog is just the tip of the iceberg for how to analyse your baby, toddler or child’s sleep behaviours to identify the cause of their early rising and support them to sleep until a more reasonable hour. To find out more information on how to recognise the best method and solutions to use to stop your child from waking up early based on their individual behaviours and sleep patterns, I have recently released my Early Rising Sleep Guide which is an affordable way to get expert sleep coach advice tailored to your child. Find the guide in the baby sleep coach shop here. 

introductory offer – use coupon Early20


Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

Surviving Baby & Toddler Jet Lag

Surviving Baby & Toddler Jet Lag

Pre-kids, avoiding jet lag usually meant that you would force yourself to stay awake until your new destinations ‘night-time’ and book yourself an extra day’s rest on your return to recover. However, when you have a baby or toddler staying awake is a whole different story. Here are some of our Baby Sleep Coach top tips for surviving baby and toddler jet lag.

Pre-kids, avoiding jet lag usually meant that you would force yourself to stay awake until your new destinations ‘night-time’ and book yourself an extra day’s rest on your return to recover. However, when you have a baby or toddler staying awake is a whole different story. Here are some of our Baby Sleep Coach top tips for surviving baby and toddler jet lag.

landing aeroplane in the blue skies

When is the best flight time with a Baby or Toddler?

When booking your holiday in addition to considering the cost of your flights, you might want to consider the flight timings and how this will affect your little one. Every baby or toddler has their own sleep patterns, so there are a few factors to consider:

  • Booking a flight that lands close to bedtime:

This will mean that on arrival you can start your bedtime routine (bath, milk, story etc) and they will be able to recognise the signs that bedtime is approaching. Try to keep them awake on the last few hours of the flight – ideally the similar number of hours they would normally have between the last nap and bed.

  • Booking a flight that lands in the morning:

If your baby or toddler usually sleeps well whilst travelling, this might be ideal for you. If you can get your little one to have a decent length of sleep on the plane and create some darkness, this will help them to adjust on waking to the ‘new’ morning.

baby sleeping in hotel room

How to help your Baby or Toddler Sleep on Holiday

The first night’s sleep on holiday is always the hardest! Accept that your little one may be disturbed during the night and don’t stay up too late yourself in case there are regular wakings – you want to enjoy your first full day too!

Try to replicate your usual bedtime routine as much as possible, keeping the room dark or dimly lit will help if they wake early and are struggling to get back to sleep. Whilst it’s tempting to bring them into your bed and let them watch a phone or tablet whilst you snooze, do your utmost to avoid blue light as this can disturb their sleep patterns further. 

Ideally, you don’t want to ‘get up’ before your usual morning time, as this will help give the impression that we are back on schedule. If that includes some sleepy cuddles in bed or some quiet activities such as reading a story, this is okay too.

This Baby Sleep Coach article on How To Get Baby To Sleep Whilst Travelling is filled with expert advice on helping your little one sleep whilst on holiday.

baby sleeping in the pram

How do I manage naps for my baby or toddler on Holiday?

If you have had a rough first night away, it’s okay to let your baby or toddler sleep in a little although try not to go more than 2 hours over the usual wake-up time to avoid disturbing nap patterns. 

When you wake on the first day, make sure you spend it outside! The sunshine’s dose of Vitamin D is vital in helping reset the body clock, so whilst there might be some great indoor facilities or you might want to head near the kids club to have a relaxing day for the grown-ups – don’t be tempted! 

Try to keep naptimes as close to your at-home routine as possible, you’ll know yourself whether your child is willing to sleep in a pram on the move or would be more settled in a cot. Do whichever you think will work best for them whilst they settle into this new environment.

family with a child eating at the restaurant

Should I change food timings on Holiday for my Baby or Toddler?

The most important answer to this question is that you keep your little one hydrated, especially if you have flown to somewhere much hotter. When we’re on holiday, many hotels or similar offer food options over a set period of time, usually your little one’s feeding slot will fall into these quite nicely. However, if you find that your mealtime needs to be slightly later (if they are used to eating at nursery at 4 pm, for instance) then try to give them a light snack around the usual mealtime to keep them satisfied until you get your meal.

If your baby is on breastmilk or formula then, try to stick to your usual pattern but accept they will need more hydration and prepare yourself to feed them more often.

If your weaned baby or toddler seems to be struggling with new times, give them a light snack before bed – preferably non-sugary although this can be harder to avoid when not at home. Find some sleepy foods here that might spark inspiration for a bedtime snack.

African baby sleeping on his side

How do I avoid ruining my baby or toddler’s sleep routine when I return home?

Consider your return flights the same way you consider your outbound flights and try to accommodate the last day of naps and sleep around what (if any) sleep you might prefer them to have on the plane.

When away, it’s common to juggle schedules to get time for a little evening entertainment or a longer sleep in the morning when you don’t have work to get up for. On your return, you’re best advised to immediately ‘return to normal’. This will set the tone that ‘we are home now, back to business as usual’ with your little one. Like us, they will likely be happy to be back in the familiarity of their own bed and back in their regular routine in no time.

For more advice relating to this blog, why not check out my Top Ten Tips for Travelling with a Baby or Toddler?



Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

A common baby sleep question I get from tired mothers is How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?! New parents, in particular, can struggle with the concept that their baby has had as little sleep with them, is so much smaller and yet seems to have bundles of energy whilst we have none. Quite rightly, parents can be concerned because they know that sleep is an important factor in any child’s development and allows them to grow physically, emotionally and cognitively but the question remains; How Much Sleep Does A Baby Need?
Let’s examine this.

child sleeping in bed

When a child doesn’t get their much-needed sleep, they will get more emotional and have a harder time concentrating on the usual day to day activities. One night of a child that won’t sleep won’t harm them, but it is when they can’t perform the tasks they need to in order to develop correctly that we start to see an issue. It is the same with babies, they do need their rest (even if they seem to think they don’t) and whilst a few bad nights won’t harm them, it is preferred from a developmental standpoint that they get their required hours.

Just like adults, the amount of sleep a baby needs can vary between individuals. Just as we all have that friend who can have three hours of sleep and still be chirpy in the morning, so can our babies. Generally speaking, you can tell if your baby has had enough sleep by their mood. Of course, there are external factors, such as the dreaded teething, that can steer us off course in judging how much sleep our baby needs and we can also reflect our own feelings onto the baby – just because you haven’t coped well with fragmented sleep doesn’t mean your baby is struggling too! If you are concerned your baby hasn’t gotten enough sleep then keep an eye out for their sleepy cues during the day.

We all wake between sleep cycles and it’s perfectly normal for a young baby to require some support from you in order to get themselves back to sleep. As they get older, this need for support usually lessens and like ourselves, they begin to only stir between sleep cycles. The way in which children typically gain the amount of sleep they need changes as they grow and develop. Every baby is unique, of course.

infant sleeping on the back on mattress

However, recommended sleep amounts, and the way this is typically structured within a 24-hour period for children of different stages of development is shown below:

Chart of average sleep need for children and adults

This chart is not a strict, necessary structure. It is an average and as with all averages, it is perfectly normal and acceptable for your child to fall on either side of these numbers. As a general rule of thumb, if your child is healthy and happy then there is a very high chance that they are getting enough sleep! As you learn their sleepy cues and their behaviours at different times of the day, you will be able to recognise when they need a bit of extra sleep due to a disturbed night previously or illness.

sleep chart

5) Getting Over Mum Guilt

Mum Guilt gets all mothers at some point during their child’s lives and a common flair up for these feelings is going back to work and placing them in the care of someone else. A key milestone in helping yourself work through the feelings of guilt is to revisit your values, as detailed in this Harvard study. Think about the reasons behind your return to work and the values you are looking to instil in your child.

A helpful exercise is to remind yourself of these in moments of doubt “I’m returning to work to financially support our family”, “I’m returning to work to role-model a good work ethic to my children” or similar.

If you’re worried about returning to work or need some extra support to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable returning, you aren’t alone and I have more advice available to you. For a bargain price of just £14.99 you can get my guide which provides a breakdown of all aspects of returning to work as a mum. From a detailed analysis of different childcare options; to helping your little one transition to childcare; to helping yourself return to the working environment, I’ve got you covered. Check out my new guide here or contact me for more information.

If you have any suggestions of your own please suggest them in the comments.


Take a moment to reflect on the amount of sleep your child is getting and Ask yourself:

  • What is my child’s average day-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………

  • What is my child’s average night-time sleep within 24 hours?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………

  • Calculate the above, in 24 hours how much sleep do they have?

    Answer here……………………………………………………………………..

  • What is the difference between the above number and the number range written on the chart?

    Answer here………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • If there is a significant difference, is it the daytime or nighttime sleep that is causing the biggest difference?

    Answer here…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  • Whilst, as parents, we can often feel tired and desperate for the ‘break’ that daytime sleep provides, if it is causing issues with night-time sleep it is usually best to have shorter daytime naps in exchange for a good night’s sleep.

  • Some babies will only ever do short naps and it doesn’t matter how much you try to get them to nap longer they just never do, and it is ok. More short naps are equally as good as longer naps.

Have you downloaded your freebie yet? Top 10 Baby Sleep Coach Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep Better Guide! If not, then make sure to click here.

For more advice on how to help your baby sleep and find a baby sleep solution that works for you and your family, you can check out our
 1 : 1 consultation services or our new baby sleep guides which come with free access to my Sleepy Village Facebook community for easy access to get your questions answered.