Everything you need to know about Overtired Babies
Over tiredness is the word I most commonly use when talking to parents to describe their baby’s sleeping patterns!
An over tired baby is too tired to sleep (Before you were a parent, bet you didn’t think this was possible?)…. Over tired babies cry lots, fuss more, are difficult to settle.
Once you get your over tired baby to sleep, they usually wake after 20-30 minutes and have trouble getting back to sleep. (Linking their sleep cycles.)
What happens to your baby when they are over tired?
Your baby has stayed awake well past the length of time their little body can tolerate. In order to continue to stay awake without napping their bodies stress responses kick in. Cortisol and adrenaline are pumped out into the body, this enables the body to stay awake when it is very over tired. You might notice your baby get what is called a second wind?
This second wind is due to the stress hormones enabling the body to stay awake and function as normal. Us adults also get this second wind when we don’t sleep enough.
Once your baby is over tired, it is even more difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why a lot of poor sleep habits are characterized as a response to your baby being over tired.
Sleep patterns bought on by over tiredness
- Short naps
- Wake ups in the early evening
- 2 hourly wake ups overnight
- 20-30 minute naps
- No linking of sleep cycles after 4 months of age
- Early wake ups
- Extreme crying and difficulty settling
- Witching hour past 6 weeks
- Learn more about baby sleep patterns in our online sleep program
What are the physical signs your baby is over tired?
- Clingy baby who doesn’t want to be put down.
- Sneezing or Hiccuping
- Rubbing face and eyes excessively
- Second wind behaviour
- Inconsolable crying and unable to be settled, can appear to have colic
What can you do to prevent over tiredness?
Watch your baby for early tired signs, and clock watch at the same time. You will notice a pattern of how long they can easily stay awake before. This will enable you to relax your observation skills and not miss their perfect nap windows.
If you think your babies frequent wake ups and unsettled-ness could be due to over tiredness, you are best to develop a full plan to work out why your baby is over tired. Do they need to learn to self settle to settle faster? Do they need a better or different routine? They might need more frequent naps while we work on establishing consolidated night sleep.
When we work with over tired babies, it is a careful balance between getting on top of sleep debt, while getting to the route of the issue and not making things worse. Sometimes we’ll break up your plan into segments and master nights before naps, or morning nap before lunch nap and so on. This allows us to increase your babies total sleep while still meeting our goals and changing the way your baby sleeps.
"We have just finished working with Daniela from Wellington and it was literally life changing. My only regret is that I didn’t discover her earlier!
Demi has just turned 18 months old and she was 7 weeks prem. She has never been a good sleeper, battling with terrible reflux and co - sleeping habits. Our main issue at this point was frequent night waking and early starts . Within two days of working with Daniela Demi was sleeping through the night! We actually didn’t even think she was capable of this. The best part....she had continued to do so every night since and this was 3 weeks ago. She now goes down without a sound for a solid two hour day day nap and sleeps through from 6.30pm.
Daniela touched base again after our time together to see how things were and she helped me make the final tweaks to Demi’s routine. A life changing experience for my family." ~ Brooke
I just finished reading your 3-8 month online sleep program, finally a solution to my daughter short naps! I am so excited to get started.