how to get overtired baby to sleep

How to Get Your Overtired Baby to Sleep

As a new parent, one of the most challenging experiences is to put your baby to sleep. Despite being a routine activity, getting your child to fall asleep can be a challenge, especially when they are overtired. Overtiredness in babies is a common condition that can occur if they have been active for longer hours without proper rest or have poor sleep habits. In this article, we will explore various strategies and techniques that can help you get your overtired baby to sleep.


When a baby becomes overstimulated or lacks enough rest, they can become overtired. This condition can result in irritability, agitation, and difficulty sleeping. Getting adequate sleep is critical for babies’ growth and development as it helps them restore energy levels, strengthen their immune system and promote healthy brain development.
In this article, we will examine various strategies for calming an overtired baby and creating a relaxing environment that promotes better sleep.

Signs of An Overtired Baby

It’s essential for every parent to recognize the signs of an overtired baby so that they can take appropriate steps to reduce stress levels and help them to fall asleep. Some common signs include:

  • Crying
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness or agitation
  • Fussiness even when fed or changed
  • Difficulty staying asleep

Reasons for Overtiredness in Babies

Several factors might contribute to over-tiredness in babies. Understanding these triggers allows you to identify which one affects your child and handle them accordingly.
Some common reasons include;

Understimulation and oversimulation

Babies need adequate stimulation to develop their cognitive and motor skills. However, when stimulation is excessive or insufficient, it can lead to over-tiredness. Overstimulation can happen when babies receive too much sensory input such as noise, light, and touch beyond their tolerance limit. On the other hand, under-stimulation can occur when babies have little exposure to sensory input or are unable to engage enough in physical activities.

Lack of comforting techniques

Babies rely on their parents for comfort to soothe and drift off to sleep. Nevertheless, when parents don’t know the right methods or equipment to use during bedtime, it can cause worries, making it hard for babies to fall asleep.

Poor sleeping habits

For babies to get adequate sleep, they require a healthy routine that’s adhered to strictly. Various factors may disrupt regular sleep patterns, including inconsistent routines, daytime naps, frequent waking up at night due to hunger or teething pain.

Strategies for Soothing an Overtired Baby

One of the main strategies is to create a calming atmosphere that encourages relaxation. Here are some strategies that will help you soothe your overtired baby.

Calming sounds and music

Music plays an important role in soothing and calming an overstimulated baby. Soft lullabies can help reduce anxiety and create a peaceful atmosphere for the baby fall asleep. You may experiment with music genres such as classical music or white noise.

Aromatherapy and massage

A gentle massage with scented oils like lavender helps babies relax by triggering hormone relaxation pathways. This step helps reduce anxiety and stress levels by promoting calmness and reducing anxiety.

Swaddling techniques

Swaddling is an old practice where you wrap your baby tightly in a thin sheet to keep them warm and help reduce movement. This move helps mimic a womb-like environment, which makes the baby feel safe and secure.

Creating a Relaxing Environment for Your Baby

Besides soothing techniques, an ambient atmosphere contributes to a baby’s relaxed state, making it easier to fall asleep.

Appropriate lighting conditions

Lighting conditions are critical in creating a cozy sleeping environment. To create optimal lighting conditions in your child’s room, you may use dimmer switches or install curtains or blinds that block excess sunlight.

Suitable temperature, clothing, and bedding

The optimal temperature range for a baby’s room is around 68-72℉. You can adjust the thermostat accordingly to create comfortable sleeping conditions. Dress the baby in light pajamas or swaddling blankets made from breathable fabrics such as cotton.

Implementing a routine

Creating a sustainable and predictable routine can significantly enhance sleep quality and promote healthy sleep habits. Having a regular bedtime routine helps signal the baby that it’s time to sleep.

Establishing a Regular Sleep Schedule

Aside from soothing techniques, establishing regular sleep patterns is crucial in getting your overtired baby to sleep.

Importance of regularity, routine, and predictability

Babies thrive when they have reliable routines that guarantee peaceful rest. Establishing specific patterns helps regulate body rhythms and triggers natural arousal states that promote restful sleeping habits.

Example sleep schedules by age group

As babies grow, their sleep requirements change too. Having an age-appropriate plan helps ensure your baby gets enough rest before becoming over-tired:

  • Newborns: 16-20 hours of daily sleep cycle spread throughout the day and night
  • 1-2 Month-olds: 14-18 hours of daily sleep cycle with less frequent night feeds.
  • 3-6 Month-olds: 12-16 hours of sleep with more nighttime sleep and longer daytime naps.
  • 6-12 Month-olds: 11-15 hours of sleep with a steady nap cycle during the day,

Pre-Bedtime Routine: Tips and Techniques

A pre-bedtime routine signals the baby’s body that it’s time to sleep soon.

Designing a relaxing pre-bedtime routine

A soothing pre-bedtime routine helps reduce anxiety levels and promote calmness, which makes it easier for your child to fall asleep. Activities you can incorporate into your pre-bedtime routine include swaddling, feeding, reading, bathing and soothing noises like lullabies.

Bathing and grooming strategies

Warm baths provide calming sensations that help babies relax before bedtime. This step also helps clean the baby’s skin, improve hygiene level in preparation for bed, while making sure moisture or chafing does not cause irritation.

Feedings – what foods help baby sleep?

For babies over six months old who consume solid foods, certain foods can help them sleep faster. Foods rich in magnesium help, such as bananas, which help promote relaxation. Incorporate foods like oats, rice cereals, or other low-acidic fruits such as peaches and plums into your baby’s dinner menu.

Helping an Overtired Baby Sleep During the Night

It can be frustrating when your baby wakes up repeatedly at night after falling asleep.

Proper feeding before bedtime

If your child is hungry before bedtime or wakes up frequently to feed at night, ensure they get appropriate food portions before bed. A meal that’s high in calcium helps promote overall bone growth and strengthen which aids better sleep quality.

Dream feeds techniques

Dream feeding involves feeding the baby while they’re still asleep, causing them to sleep through longer stretches. This move can help reduce nighttime feeding sessions and improve sleep patterns.

Using a pacifier (pros and cons)

Pacifiers provide babies with self-soothing experiences, as they satisfy their natural urge to suck. Using a pacifier also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons before using one.

Sleep Training Techniques For Your Overtired Baby

Sleep training methods refer to techniques that parents utilize to teach their babies how to fall asleep independently. Parents should select strategies suitable for their parenting style and the baby’s temperament.

Controlled cry-out methods

Controlled Cry-out methods involve allowing the baby to cry out for progressively more extended periods until they learn to fall asleep independently.

Comforting techniques

Comforting techniques involve using soft voices or touch or other soothing cues such as patting, rocking and singing lullabies that helps calm down overtired babies.

Gradual reduction process

Gradual reduction is ideal for parents who want an approach with less crying. It involves altering bedtime routines gradually, reducing parental involvement in baby care progressively, and teaching the child how to self-soar.

Additional Tips And Tricks For Getting An Overtired Baby To Sleep

If your baby still struggles to get enough rest, consider incorporating these extra tips into your routine:

  • Strategies to stop your baby catnapping
  • Best practices to reduce disturbances
  • Coping strategies for parents dealing with sleep deprivation


Getting an overtired baby to sleep is a challenge; however, becoming familiar with soothing techniques and employing them during pre-bedtime routines will foster better sleeping habits. Creating a consistent routine, regular feeding time, reducing overstimulation and under-stimulation, having the right bedding, and lighting conditions are all significant steps to promote healthier sleep patterns for your little one.

FAQs on How to get Overtired Baby to Sleep

1) Why do babies become overtired?

Babies can easily become overtired when they have not had enough sleep or when their routine has been disturbed. This can lead to fussiness, crankiness, and difficulty in falling asleep.

2) Is it possible for an overtired baby to sleep too much?

No, it is not possible for a baby to sleep too much, especially if they have been deprived of sleep. However, it is essential for parents to stick to a sleep routine so that the baby can eventually sleep without becoming overtired.

3) How can I recognize when my baby is overtired?

Overtired babies may exhibit signs such as fussy behavior, crying, rubbing their eyes and yawning, arching their back or getting hyperactive. They may also experience difficulty in feeding and may pull away from the breast or bottle.

4) What are some tips for getting an overtired baby to sleep?

  • Establish a calming bedtime routine and stick with it
  • Create a comfortable drowsy environment by dimming lights and playing soothing music
  • Soothe your baby with gentle rocking, patting or singing
  • Offer the pacifier if your baby takes one
  • Try swaddling your baby snugly in a blanket

5) When should I seek medical attention for my overtired baby?

If your baby’s fussiness persists despite trying various methods to calm them down and you notice other signs such as fever, vomiting or unusual breathing patterns, it is vital to consult your health care provider.

6) Is it okay to let an overtired baby cry it out?

It is crucial for parents to know baby’s cries and respond to them accordingly. However, letting an overtired baby cry it out can cause more distress and may lead to further sleep deprivation. Instead, use gentle soothing techniques such as rocking, patting or singing to help your baby drift off to sleep.

7) How can I prevent my baby from becoming overtired?

  • Stick to a consistent sleep routine
  • Obersve your baby’s sleep cues such as rubbing eyes or yawning
  • Avoid overstimulating activities close to bedtime
  • Maintain a comfortable sleeping environment
  • Feed baby on time so that they are not hungry close to bedtime.

In conclusion, it’s essential for parents to create a calming bedtime routine for their babies with the aim of helping them fall asleep without becoming overtired and cranky.

keys takeaways

4 Key Takeaways for Getting an Overtired Baby to Sleep

  1. Consistent routine: Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help teach your baby when it’s time to sleep.
  2. Avoid overstimulation: Too much stimulation before bedtime can make it harder for a baby to fall asleep. Keep activities calm and quiet in the hour leading up to bedtime.
  3. Dark and quiet: Creating a dark and quiet environment can help cue your baby’s body that it’s time for sleep.
  4. Know your baby: Understanding your baby’s individual sleep needs and patterns can help you anticipate when they may need to sleep and adjust their routine accordingly.

Remember, every baby is unique and may require different strategies to fall asleep. It’s important to be patient and consistent as you work with your baby to establish healthy sleep habits.