Signs of an overtired baby and what you can do

Overtired baby? Signs to look for and what you can do.

Overtired baby? Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there and often, it’s not pleasant!! Have you heard yourself saying that your little one ‘just isn’t tired’ or they’re always ‘fighting sleep’? Instead, it’s very likely that your child is overtired!

What happens when a baby is overtired and why do they get so cranky

When a child becomes overtired, their bloodstream is flooded with stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline. They are in dire need for sleep, but these hormones make it difficult for them to settle to sleep and/or stay asleep. What often results is a vicious overtired cycle – they’re too tired to sleep properly so they nap for short periods, wake often during the night, wake early in the morning, their sleep debt continues and the cycle goes on and on.

Signs your baby is overtired

  • Cranky babies
  • Toddler tantrums
  • Fussy feeders/eaters
  • Short attention spans
  • A ‘second wind’ or ‘wired’ hyper-alert state
  • Difficult sleep settles
  • Inability to get into deep sleep cycles
  • Short naps
  • Multiple night wake ups
  • Early morning wake ups

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    Prevent overtiredness in your baby or toddler by noticing the tired signs early!

How can I prevent my baby being overtired?

  • Be mindful of age appropriate awake times and try to stick close to them
  • Watch for tired signs (decreased activity or interest in surroundings, becoming less vocal, eyes are less focused)
  • Avoid overtired signs (irritability, eye rubbing, yawning)
  • Ensure your little ones sleep environment is conducive to great sleep
  • Make naps a priority and allow time in your day to offer your little one good quality sleep at home.
  • Try and avoid snack feeding and snack sleeping. Keeping your little one awake on feeds to ensure they have had a good feed will mean you can then focus on lengthier sleeps without worrying that they may be waking due to hunger.
  • 15 minutes prior to your child’s age appropriate nap/bedtime approaching, be on the lookout for tired signs!

Pairing these things together can make for much quicker and easier settles and often your little one will sleep deeper and longer. Over-tiredness can be hard on everyone, no one more so than your child.

If you would like help with settling your baby for sleep, get in touch with The Gentle Sleep Specialist via my contact page.


Happy Sleeping – Nikki xo


Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

The Gentle Sleep Specialist xo