While an exhausted baby may seem like a recipe for a little one who will sleep through the night, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Over-tiredness has many consequences for people at any age, but for infants who are learning to regulate their sleep patterns, being overtired can cause difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Whether you are on the go and are finding it hard to fit in naps or your baby is simply overstimulated in times when rest and winding down should be prioritized, there are lots of small things you can do to make your baby’s sleep health a priority.
Signs of an Overtired Baby
When a baby is overtired it simply means that he or she is past the point of being ready to fall asleep. Once this happens the body’s stress hormone, cortisol, is activated, which can actually cause your baby to stay awake longer and have trouble calming down, leading to even MORE over-tiredness.
Being able to recognize when your baby is tired or overtired is the key to preventing them from getting to a state of severe overtiredness that can cause a lot of misery for both you and your little one.
Some signs to look out for in your baby include:
- Baby will rub her eyes or face.
- Baby will move his face away from stimulation.
- Baby will yawn, hiccup, or sneeze often.
- Baby will fuss and whimper; eventually, the fussing may spiral into full-blown inconsolable crying.
- Baby will become clingy with mom or dad, or with a caregiver, making it impossible to put her down for sleep.
- Baby will grow increasingly physically active and “wound up” as the awake period wears on.
Dealing with an overtired baby
As aforementioned, being proactive about tiredness is the best way to avoid your baby becoming overtired. However, if you are at the point where your baby is overtired and having trouble getting the rest he or she needs, there are some things you can do to help make the transition easier.
Some things you can try include:
- Hold your baby.
- Feed your baby until she is calm and drowsy.
- Rock your baby.
- Play white noise or lullaby music
- Make your baby’s room dark.
- Sing a lullaby while rocking your baby.
- For older babies and toddlers: read a few bedtime stories in your child’s dim room.
- For toddlers and preschoolers: offer a quiet time during which your child can read books and play with toys in his sleeping area.
About Sleep Shop
The Sleep Shop is led by Melissa, a mother of four, and is a member of the International Association of Professional Sleep Consultants.
We offer one-one-one unlimited consulting, sleep classes with our founder, phone consultations, 1-week jumpstarts, infant sleep guides, 2 weeks of consulting, toddler nap guides, toddler sleep guides, toddler total resets, and “the toddler tune-up”.
We offer sleep consulting services in all of New York City including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Flat Iron District, Turtle Bay, Tribeca, Upper East Side, Soho, Staten Island, and the greater NYC area.
Contact us today to learn more.