You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. It’s time to lay your baby down for sleep and sleep is the last thing happening. You’ve missed the baby sleep cues through no fault of your own. Its a LOT to understand. So often, our babies are overtired which makes it harder for them to fall asleep. In fact, sometimes babies are so far past being tired that naps simply don’t happen.
There’s hope though-understanding your baby’s sleepy cues and learning when to ideally lay them down for sleep is a game changer in daily nap routines and bedtimes across many homes.
First-WHY do babies struggle to fall asleep once they’re overtired?
When babies are awake past their ability to be and become tired, their body starts to activate a stress response. This stress response emits the stress hormone, cortisol, which stimulates babies to stay awake. When this stress response occurs, the baby’s body is fighting against sleep, making overtired babies often a bit harder to put down for sleep.
Looking for your baby’s sleep cues and getting to know what these look like for your own baby can help for smoother sleep times.
Signs your baby is overtired: *Difficult to fall asleep at nap and bedtimes *Waking soon into their nap *Very fussy at nap time *Skipping naps altogether *Long bedtimes *Frequent wake ups, close together in the night *Waking early for the day
Looking for your baby’s sleep cues and getting to know what these look like for your own baby can help for smoother sleep times. Screenshot the stages below for easy reference when working on your baby’s sleep.
Calm and ready for sleep!
When your baby is calm and starting to have some blank stares, pink or red eyes, looking away or disengaging in activities, it’s a good sign your baby is ready for sleep. This is the ideal time to get your baby down for their nap.
This is the phase when babies can begin to exhibit signs of overtiredness, but don’t worry. Fussing, rubbing eyes, hiccups and yawning are all sure signs that your little one is ready to get down for sleep now.
When your baby is beyond tired.
If your baby is in the beyond tired phase and their nap isn’t happening after about 20 minutes of trying, it’s okay to stop trying, go about your day and try nap again in an hour or so. I like to call this a reset in sleep. Sometimes simply resetting, changing the environment, going outside for fresh air and trying again does the trick. When you choose to reset a nap, head outside of their sleep environment to break the pattern, then head back to the sleep environment when you’re ready to lay them down again.
Pro tip: In infants, earlier to sleep is usually better. If you’re unsure, go earlier.
Feeling like you might be missing your baby’s sleep time and looking to make things a bit smoother? Let’s talk sleep today! You can schedule a 60-minute sleep consultation here: Schedule my Snooze Sleep Call!
Kaela, Sleep Expert
Sustainable Sleep Solutions believes your child's sleep plays an important role in the wellbeing of you and your family. We know that navigating your child’s sleep from infancy to toddlerhood can be daunting and overwhelming. That’s why we guide you and help create lasting changes in your little one’s sleep so you aren’t on this journey alone. When the quality of sleep increases, so does your mental and physical wellbeing, which leads to a thriving family. It doesn’t stop there, the changes are created to be sustainable for your family, so as you grow, sleep and life quality only get better!