What Can Frustrated Parents Do To Induce Sleep In Their Overly Tired Baby
Parents are often faced with a host of situations with a baby including a baby who is so overly tired that they’re unable to fall asleep. Overtired babies will cry and cry, making it hard for their tiny little bodies to relax. And, when they do finally crash from the exhaustion, they often wake up sooner and have a difficult time going back to bed.
What can a parent do to ease their exhausted baby’s anxiety and help them to relax and sleep?
The first thing to understand is that tired and overtired is not the same thing. When your baby feels tired, the body will let the child know that they need to sleep. Overtired is a problem that all parents are worried about. It’s when the body’s physical exhaustion causes its stress-response system to kick in.
When an adult is overly tired, they may become confused, irritable and lethargic. They may even reach for something sweet or something with a lot of carbs to give them some quick energy.
Infants, on the other hand, show their exhaustion in other ways and that often causes bigger issues. Therefore, it’s imperative you learn what causes a baby to become overly tired and what the symptoms are. This will help you to head off the potential of your little bundle of joy becoming overtired.
Hormones and Their Effect On Your Child’s Emotional State
Simply put, infants become exhausted when their bodies are awake longer than they want to be. When they are physically exhausted, it causes the body’s stress-response system to kick into gear. And, this leads to an influx of stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline – to release. This release causes the child to become unable to relax and rest.
Parents have to understand that hormones play a huge part on sleep. Therefore, you want to increase your child’s melatonin to help them relax and fall asleep easily. This means putting your child in a semi-dark or completely dark room so the body can release melatonin. You want to decrease the amount of cortisol, which is the hormone that keeps the body awake and alert. It is extremely high during the day and doesn’t start to level off until the evening hours.
In order to decrease the cortisol levels in the bloodstream, your child should be placed in a semi-dark or completely dark room during the day. For naps during the day, close the curtains to cut out the brightness coming into the room. You also don’t want to force your child to sleep when the cortisol levels are up.
What Causes A Baby To Feel Exhausted So Easily?
The single biggest reason a child becomes so exhausted is they’re not getting enough sleep. With your child taking in the world around them, they need to have a nap to process the information. Overstimulation causes their body’s stress-response system to start. What’s the proper timeframe in which a baby can stay awake before the system starts?
- Newborns – 45 minutes of stimulation or awake time before they are tired again.
- Six-Month Olds – Two hours of stimulation.
- Toddlers – Five or so hours of stimulation time.
The body will ready itself to nap when the stimulation is nearing its in. Therefore, you’ll need to take steps that will release the melatonin and thwart the cortisol level. Failure to do this causes the body to generate cortisol and adrenaline, making it difficult for them to sleep.
This leads to stress for your child as well as yourself!
What Are The Signs Of A Tired Baby?
Your baby is going to show you signs of them being tired before they become exhausted. It’s up to you to recognize what those signs are. What are some of them?
- They rub their eyes, hair, and ears. Many people mistake this for teething, but your baby will use them to try and stay awake longer.
- No longer interested in favorite toys or food.
- Facial expressions have changed. If your child looked happy and then is suddenly grumpy, it’s time the baby gets put down for a nap.
- Your child may be looking for their pacifier or wants to suck their thumb. If they have a comfort toy, they may be looking for that to help them sleep.
- They’re having problems latching on to breastfeed.
- If they’re yawning, this is a tell-tale sign that they’re sleepy. Quickly put your baby down so that they may go to sleep faster.
- Your baby may have automatic signals that are beyond their control such as rapid breathing, sneezing, sweaty palms, and hiccups.
Remember, when your baby is overly tired, they’ll start crying and will be unable to pacify easily. A younger child will arch their back and put their legs up; an older child will scream, cry and fight the sleep. With the above signs of a tired child, you can avoid all this.
What Can You Do To Help Your Exhausted Child Finally Sleep?
While it can be difficult to get your exhausted child to finally relax enough to sleep, there are things you can do to help them out. Consider the following soothing methods to help your child relax and fall asleep.
- Feeding – A quick bedtime feeding can soothe your little one enough to fall asleep. You don’t want them to fall asleep while your breastfeeding, as this, makes them think that’s how they should be going to bed.
- Warm Baths – A warm bath and fresh diaper can relax the body enough to induce sleep.
- Rocking – One of the best ways of getting a baby to sleep is rocking. This can be done either sitting down or standing up. However, before they fall asleep, you need to put them into their own
- Massage – Yes, a massage can help your baby to feel relaxed. Mix a minute bit of lavender oil and baby oil and gently rub it onto your child’s back and shoulders.
- Sing – Your child loves to hear your voice, so hum or sing a lullaby. It doesn’t have to be perfect to ease them to sleep.
- Establish A Bedtime Routine – Come up with a bedtime routine for your child to follow, so that they’ll know when it’s time for them to get to bed. With older children, you can read to them in a dim room.
What To Be Mindful Of About The Environment
Did you know that your child’s room temperature plays a huge part in how they sleep? If you want to ensure your child can easily fall asleep, make sure to lower the room temperature down. You can also do the following things to make it easier for them to fall and stay asleep:
Temperature Adjustment – You want your child to rest, which means lowering the room’s temperature to a comfortable, cool 65 degrees. When using a thermostat, make sure the environment is comfortable for them to fall asleep in.
Decrease Brightness or Turn Off The Lights – Lighting can have a huge effect on a baby. Make sure to turn off the lights or reduce the brightness as much as you can to get your baby to settle down for a nap or bedtime. If you want to leave a nightlight on, that’s fine. The nightlight reinforces the knowledge that it’s time for bed.
Soothing Music – A tired, grumpy baby will find white noise and soothing music comforting and relaxing. Consider using nature sounds or classical music to get them to fall asleep.
Swaddling – Swaddling your baby can help an exhausted child relax enough to go to sleep. Swaddling is when you wrap your child in a light and soft blanket so they feel at ease and safe.
With the above techniques, you can help your relax your overly tired baby, so they’ll want to go to sleep. It will also help them to not become so exhausted in the first place.
What Can You Do To Avoid The Exhaustion?
All babies need a nap because of all the stimulation they endure. Make sure to develop a napping schedule and follow it, so your baby’s sleeping needs are met.
- Newborns to three-month-old babies need at least 18 hours of sleep every day. Come up with a plan that allows them two to three naps per day. The majority of babies will eat and sleep without your help, so keep that in mind.
- Four to 11-month-olds need between eight and 12 hours of sleep and two naps of 30 minutes to two hours each day.
- Toddlers need at least nine hours of sleep with two one-hour naps in the day.
It’s hard to soothe a baby who is overly stimulated and beyond exhaustion. However, if you know the signs of sleepiness and put your child down for a nap, you can thwart the outcome of an overtired baby. Come up with a schedule that’s easy for you and your baby to remember, and stick to it.
Use soothing techniques and make sure their environment is conducive to sleep. If you notice your child is always overly tired, you may need to sleep with your baby’s doctor. They may suggest treatments to help them relax and fall asleep.