If you’ve got an overtired newborn, you’re probably struggling with tiredness too. In this blog, we’re here to help you with how to get an overtired newborn to sleep.
This blog includes:
- What is overtiredness?
- How to break the cycle of an overtired baby
- Signs of an overtired newborn
- Will an overtired baby eventually sleep?
- How to get an overtired newborn to sleep
- Wind down routine for a baby
It can be quite common for babies to become overtired, especially newborns. In the first few months of life, your baby will likely sleep more hours than they are awake in the day.
While a routine can be beneficial, there’s no way of sleep training a newborn baby. Ultimately, the baby will sleep when they want to. You’ll start to notice their sleepy cues as time goes on.
What is overtiredness?
Overtiredness is difficult for babies to deal with as they cannot tell you how they’re feeling. Older children may tell you they are tired, whereas overtired babies tend to cry.
When babies become too tired, they may cry a lot and be restless. This is their way of telling you they are overtired.
Overtired babies are usually difficult to settle, so it’s usually best to avoid it if possible. In the early days after birth, it’s best to always have a way for your baby to be able to sleep. Read our blog on the newborn sleep schedule.
How to break the cycle of an overtired baby
If your baby is frequently overtired, you’ll want to know what can be done about it.
New parents are often told to start baby sleep training early, but the most important thing is that your baby gets the sleep they need. Until your baby gets a bit older, it’s best to let them sleep when they need it. Here are some tips for breaking the cycle of an overtired baby.
Create a good bedtime routine
Newborn babies rely on routine as they don’t know any different. For some, the getting baby to sleep routine may include bathtime, feeding and reading a bedtime story. During this time, reduce distractions, noise and keep the lights low. This will help your baby to relax and is key to creating healthy sleep habits.
Create a good sleeping environment
You’ll need to ensure your baby is comfortable in their sleeping environment. For the first six months, your baby should sleep in a crib or basket in your bedroom for safety. After six months, you can move them into their own room.
It’s a good idea to get them used to the room before they have to sleep alone in there. Napping or having tummy time in there may help them to feel more at ease.
Look out for sleepy cues
We mentioned the signs of an overtired baby, and these are typically the same if your baby is only slightly tired too. If you notice the signs of a tired baby, it’s best to get your baby to sleep as soon as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of them becoming overtired.
Allow for longer naps
If your baby is frequently showing signs of being overtired, it may help to let them sleep for longer. A couple of longer naps throughout the day might be just what they need to be a happy baby.
Stick to the baby’s wake windows
A wake window is the time that your baby is awake between naps. In the beginning, newborns typically only have around 45 minutes of awake time before they’re due for another nap. During this time, you’ll likely need to feed and change your baby’s nappy.
Avoid spending too much time on wake windows if your baby is too tired. Make sure that they are ready for their next nap on time. This can help to build your baby’s sleep schedule, but as a newborn, it’s only a rough guide.
Signs of an overtired newborn
Every baby is different, but there are some common signs that many babies display when they are overtired. Sleep cues for an overtired baby can include the following.
- Rubbing eyes, ears or face
- Frequently yawning
- Lack of interest
- Crying a lot – an overtired baby’s cry is often much more piercing than other cries.
- Being difficult to settle
- Being restless when it’s time to sleep
- Jerky movements
You know your baby best, and you will recognise their sleepy cues after a while. When you spot signs of tiredness, it’s best to get them off to sleep. As your baby can’t speak, these actions are generally known as their stress response.
Small babies require a lot of sleep, and each month it generally reduces. However, babies do still need to have a significant amount of naps during the day. Check out our nap schedule for more information on baby sleep.
Will an overtired baby eventually sleep?
If your baby has been crying for a while, you might be wondering if they’ll eventually sleep. The answer is yes, but it might not be the best sleep.
Overtired babies often sleep for only a short while compared to if they weren’t overtired. You may also notice that the sleep is not as good quality. This is because the baby will often wake up frequently during the night.
Before your baby goes to sleep, have a read of what you should do. When overtired babies are fighting sleep, knowing what to do as a new parent can be difficult.
How to get an overtired newborn to sleep
Knowing what to do when your baby is overtired can be tricky. You might be tempted to put them straight in their crib, but they may not sleep. First, you will need to try and settle them.
Your overtired baby is likely feeling quite agitated and will need calming down before sleeping. Here’s how to calm an overtired baby.
- Give them a cuddle
- Sing a soft lullaby
- Do a relaxing activity, such as reading a book with them
- Feed your overtired baby if it’s time for milk
These activities can help with soothing babies and help them to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Leaving an overtired baby to cry
Some parents may choose to leave their babies to cry, and others may not want to. Be aware that your baby is probably feeling very stressed when they are overtired. This means they may struggle with falling asleep. This can be known as teaching the baby self-soothing techniques. However, a newborn baby will likely need your support as they settle into nighttime sleep or naps.
By going in and soothing them, they’ll likely fall asleep faster and get a better sleep than if you leave them. An overtired baby’s cry sound is not something you want them to deal with alone.
Wind down routine for a baby
Your baby is likely to settle better with a great bedtime routine. It’s all about finding one that works for you and your baby. As we mentioned earlier, if an older baby skips their routine, it may not affect them too much. However, for a baby, it can have a more significant impact.
You may choose to include some of the following in the bedtime routine.
- Changing into pyjamas
- Read a bedtime story
- Have a cuddle
- Sing a soft song or lullaby
- Many parents consider using white noise to help their baby sleep
Avoid anything that will wake your baby up or make them feel excited when getting your baby to sleep. This time before sleep needs to be relaxing, especially for tired babies.
It’s very important that you don’t compare your baby to someone else’s. Every baby is different and, therefore, will sleep for varying amounts of time. Some babies need more sleep than others, whereas some deal well with short naps and less sleep. Even the way you choose to feed your baby can impact the amount of sleep they need.
If you are concerned about your baby’s sleep, seek advice from a professional. You may be referred to a sleep consultant. If your baby is frequently crying in their sleep, you may need to seek professional advice too. Sometimes, getting support is essential to ensure that everyone feels more well-rested.
Remember that you don’t need to focus too much on building a consistent sleep schedule with a newborn. If you have an exhausted baby, they just need to sleep.
We hope this blog has been useful regarding how to get an overtired newborn to sleep. When it comes to tired newborns, it’s best to get them off to sleep rather than worrying about sleep training. Additionally, it’s best to try and prevent your baby from becoming overtired, so try to let them sleep when you can.
Hey there, I’m Abigail!
I recently graduated with a degree in Marketing. I’m currently a freelance blogger and Marketing Assistant. I love learning new things and hope that you find my blogs useful and informative.
See you in the next article!