I've been working on Sofia's naps for some time now. I've noticed a couple of things to be very evident in affecting her nap time sleep.
#1 - Nap Window: Sofia has a "window" that she must be put down for a nap in. If I miss this window (either too early or too late) we are bound for disaster. It normally opens right at the 2 hour mark, showing signs like eye rubbing, red eyes, yawning and sudden crankiness.
#2 - Dark Room: For a good nap, Sofia needs a dark room. She is like me, she rises with the sun. I cannot sleep if it is light out.
#3 - 45 Minute Intruder: At the 45 minute mark, Sofia is mid-transition in her sleep cycle. This is a very delicate time for her, if it is too loud she will wake at this point and very rarely will she go back to sleep. I have to be very careful around the 45 minute mark to make sure the sounds in the house are limited.
#4 - Wake Up Crying: According to Baby Wise, if the baby wakes crying it is because they didn't get enough sleep (either in quality or length) and I have found this to be true. VERY true. However, I have given Sofia time to fall back asleep and I have found that in her case, falling back asleep is very rare. Typically, she works herself up into such a panic that she can't calm herself enough to go back to sleep - enter Mommy. However, as I am learning what affects her nap cycles, I am also learning to prevent this early waking.
Isn't it funny how the "learning" never really ends? I guess that is part of the beauty of life. I am always learning.