As a first, or even second time parent it can be hard to know the signs that could indicate overtiredness in your baby. There are a few different age groups to consider, but many of the signs are similar.
Many times newborns fall into the red-zone, overtired zone, when they’ve been awake too long. Once they are overtired, their weak self-regulation skills make it hard to get out of this phase. How can we prevent your child from falling into the red-zone? Keep reading!
Signs to look for before your child enters the overtired red-zone:
- Redness under the eye
- Less eye contact
- Decreased limb activity
- Glazed over look
All listed signs from Newborns plus:
- Falling asleep in the car immediately even though it’s not nap time (4-24 months)
- Frequent night wakings (4-24 months)
All listed signs from Newborns and 4-24 months plus:
- Appearing wired at bedtime (2-4)
What causes a baby to become overtired in the first place?
Factors that can lead to being overtired::
- Staying awake too long between naps or before bed
- Waking up frequently in the night over a series of days or weeks, which will affect the quality of sleep
- Being caught in this overtired cycle is a negative feedback loop - it keeps you stuck. It’s harder to fall asleep and then stay asleep. Which makes them more tired the next day. And repeat.
What can a parent do to try and help their baby avoid being overtired?
- Start observing
- When your child starts to appear fussy, can you use deduction skills to identify root cause
- Time since last feed
- Did baby burp well
- Time since last nap
- Use the clock
- Start watching the clock as well as using the sleepy cues to help guide you to know when it's nap time
- Projecting out when the next nap needs to happen.
- Look at our Sleep Summary by Age Handout to get an idea as to how much sleep your child needs in 24 hours.
- Know when to make sleep happen
- Don’t try to put them down too early, and try to push them a little bit longer
If you like these tips check out our six question Sleep Quiz to get a personalized response based on your child’s age and your answers.