Polly Moore, author of The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program, defends her NAPS sleep solution. The Five-Minute Time Out.

It’s no secret that new parents are obsessed with sleep. Put “baby” and “sleep” into the book search on and you come up with – I kid you not – 11,172 hits. But Polly Moore, the author of the new book The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program, thinks she has the answer. A PhD and sleep researcher, Moore created the N.A.P.S. program after recognizing the Basic Rest and Activity Cycle, or BRAC, in her infant daughter. (BRAC is a fancy-schmancy term for one of the body’s biorhythms, such as the fact that, during sleep, people go through ninety-minute cycles of REM and non-REM rest.) 

Moore’s plan is this:

Note the time when the baby wakes up.

Add ninety minutes.

Play, feed or do other things.

Soothe baby back to sleep when ninety minutes are up.

Her book details her program, offers tips on perennial problems like early morning waking and provides readers with a handy-dandy sleep journal where you can chart your baby’s sleep. Babble talked to her about how she came up with her plan, why parents get so testy about their baby’s sleep patterns and how much sleep she gets at night. – Jennifer V. Hughes

Every parent I’ve ever known was totally freaked out about their baby’s sleep – how often the baby wakes up at night, how hard it is to get the kid to sleep. Why do you think new parents are so consumed by sleep?

My guess is it’s for selfish reasons, because their own sleep is so affected by it. I don’t mean to say that people are selfish. It’s just that it’s the one area of our lives that has the biggest impact. I think the other thing is the unpredictability. They have no idea when the baby is going to wake up and that leads to stress.

How did you come up with the N.A.P.S. system?

I came up with it quite by accident. I made a bunch of mistakes with my daughter, but what it came down to was not recognizing her signs of sleepiness. I had an “aha” moment when she was about four months old. I had gotten into the habit of rocking her to sleep and I had to take her into this large closet that was dark. One time I noticed that she started to look sleepy and I realized she had just gotten up ninety minutes ago. All the training I had as a sleep researcher and the ninety-minute clock came rushing back at me. Once I started following the clock, she started to nap longer and her nighttime sleep got better in two or three days.

So, you tried it out on your daughter (Maddie, now ten). Did you use it on your son (Max, now eight)?

When my son was born, I thought “I’m going to pay attention to this from the day he’s born,” and it was apparent to me while I was still in the hospital.