Our baby is sleeping well now with longer nap (1 to 1.5 hours) during the day. But a month or two ago, he could only take 30min or 40min naps, He wakes up happy then feels tired again shortly after that.
After reading through quite a few books and articles, below are some reasons I’ve gathered:
Your love one couldn’t handle partial wakings:
Your child wakes up after the light sleep portion of his sleep cycle. He has a partial waking and realize that the conditions under which he fell asleep (nursing to sleep, bottle to sleep, pacifier, being held, etc.) are not present anymore and then he fully wakes up. You need to train him to be able to fall back to sleep again by himself. We found the book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems is really useful.
Have enough sleep during the night so don’t need much naps
Young kids feel tired and sleepy very often so they need to take a few naps during the day. However in some days, when the children are well rested during the night, there may be not a lot of sleep left for daytime naps. One way of making sure he has enough sleep is keeping track of his sleep time and keeping a consistent sleeping schedule
Your child is not awake long enough to get tired enough (under-tired) to make it through the sleep cycle transition. In turn your child has a short nap and is overtired from not getting the full benefit of a longer nap. Then when the next nap he will have hard time to go to sleep again and mess up the whole sleep cycle. So pay close attention to his sign of sleepiness and put him to bed. Every child is different so you know your child best.
Few other resources that could help with your child sleeping issue are: