How to Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep

A baby can get cranky due to many reasons but most of the time the most common reason was lack of sleep. More often than not, it’s the stress associated with lack of sleep that makes it difficult for baby to fall asleep.

When a baby is not falling asleep, it can be challenging for parent to cope with all the fussy and distressed behavior displayed by the baby. The more urgent the sleep becomes, the harder for the baby to get into sleep. If your baby constantly caught in this situation, this article will be helpful in showing you how to get an overtired baby to sleep better and longer.

What it Means to Become Overtired

A baby does not go into overtired immediately. Tiredness comes before overtiredness and overtiredness lies between tiredness and exhaustion

Tiredness     →         Overtiredness          →         Exhaustion

If you have ever heard the phrase "He won't go to sleep because he is "overtired" but you don't know what it means, it really isn't too complicated to figure out.

As you are well aware, all humans need sleep to function and being overtired means that the baby has gone beyond the point of being ready for sleep. It involves a state of tiredness that disrupts hormones in the body, which makes it even tougher for your baby to fall and stay asleep.

Your little one might get overtired if he/she has been awake for a long time or for an amount of time that is unusual for them.

The Signs of an Overtired Infant


There are many signs that you can look out for to determine if your baby is actually overtired. These include the following...

  • Has had a bad night sleep the night before or during that day.
  • Very grumpy, fidgety and crying more than usual.
  • Might drift off for a moment but is easily woken up.
  • Baby is not engaging in eye contact and it's more difficult to make him/her smile.
  • Appears to "fight" with the prospect when you try and put them to sleep.
  • Appears uncomfortable or doesn't want to feed during the day but has no problem at night time.
  • Stares into space periodically.
  • Has a short attention span.
  • Requires more attention than usual.
  • Resists being put down and wants to be held/rocked constantly.

There might be many to be aware of but if your baby is displaying more than one of these, it's very likely that they are overtired. Now, let’s look into the tip and tricks on how to get an overtired baby to sleep.

Tips on How to Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep


Getting a tired baby into sleep itself is a challenging chore already but getting an overtired baby into sleep who seem to be fighting with sleeping can be emotionally melting for parents. If you constantly having hard time to get your baby into sleep, let’s look into these tip and trick...

  • If your baby doesn't have one yet, implement a bedtime routine and stick to it no matter what. This could include giving him a bath, reading a bedtime story and so on. Babies thrive off routine, so this WILL work if you are consistent with your plan.
  • Many parents think that baby should not sleep in a cool or an air conditioner room but this is not true. You should keep the room fairly cool because being too warm makes babies uncomfortable/wakes them when asleep. Dress baby with the amount of clothes that you would wear, this might vary depending on the time of year of course. According to Warren Guntheroth, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington said that a nursery that is too warm substantially increases an infant's Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) risk.
  • It is a really good idea to have a mobile hanging over your little ones cot, this gives them something to focus on and helps even the most over stimulated baby to fall asleep sooner. Experts also commented that a well design nursery could be beneficial to both baby and caregiver too. Check out this 21 inspiring nursery ideas.
  • Swaddling your baby before you put them down for sleep can really help. Use a thin blanket and make sure he/she is really cozy on the top half of their body. Swaddling can sooth a tired baby because it reminds them of when they were in the womb. Check out this article and learn how to choose the best swaddle blanket for your baby.
  • Ensure that the lights are out, using a night-light if necessary to just bring a glow of soft light into the room. A white noise baby machine will also help to get your baby asleep too.

Baby nursery that is too warm substantially increases an infant's Sudden Infant Death Syndrome risk. #StopSIDS

Click to Tweet

This nightlight soother by Skip Hop is a perfect fit for the modern nursery. Featuring a dimmable nightlight belly that emits a warm glow, it soothes baby with 8 gentle melodies and calming nature sounds. Also, this nightlight has a lens that can project starry image onto any surface so your baby can see the luminous sky from his/her bed.

Understanding Melatonin and Cortisol Hormones and Your Baby

There are two hormones in your baby’s body that controls their sleep pattern, these hormones are Melatonin and Cortisol.

Melatonin doesn't fully develop in your child for some weeks after they are born, which is why they sleep often but for short periods of time. While melatonin tells a baby to sleep, cortisol tells the body when to wake up - so these two hormones have to work together for a healthy bedtime routine.

When your baby is over stimulated, it releases the hormone Cortisol, which STOPS your baby falling asleep. This is why you should not play with or overwhelm your baby for at least an hour before bedtime. By helping them unwind as much as possible, you can actually encourage melatonin production in the brain, which will help them fall asleep.

What Babies Need to Sleep Well

A baby tends to wake to feed, so it's important that he/she has drank some milk before they go to sleep - this will help them slumber for longer, which is good for both of you. In addition to this, you should also ensure that you "wind" your baby because it's almost impossible for them to sleep when they are gassy and uncomfortable.

Also, sleep is not an instant action. It needs time before your baby’s brain slowly drifts off and fall asleep. So, try and stay calm when getting your little one to sleep because even at this age, they can pick up on your stress. If you show any form of stress, your baby will fight it and it will be harder for her to fall asleep. In addition to this, make sure that you follow the bedtime routine detailed above.

How to get an overtired baby to sleep sometime is more of an art rather than science. So, you have to try out the above mentioned tips and see which one will make your little one fall asleep easier.

However, it’s normal for a method to work today and fail to work after a few weeks later. So, you have to be flexible and change the method around until it helps your baby to sleep better again. Most importantly, the most comfortable you can make them, the better!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments