Yes. When a young child is over-tired, they find it harder to get to sleep or stay asleep for very long, when they eventually sleep. Once you can spot these signs of tiredness and sleepiness, you would be able to settle your child to sleep at the right time before over-tiredness sets in. Some children become irritable, very fussy, demanding or overactive when they get really tired, some as a way of fighting the sleep.
It is important to look out for these signs of tiredness and sleepiness so as to avoid stimulating your child when he is tired and start settling for sleep. These sleep signs are also important when you are starting a sleep schedule and/or a sleep routine to help improve your child’s sleep.
Spotting signs of tiredness in your baby (before they get over-tired) lets you get your child to sleep more easily. Every baby is different so signs of sleepiness in one baby will differ from another baby’s signs of sleepiness or over-tiredness. Some of these signs are easy to spot while some are not so obvious
Signs of sleepiness in Newborns
Newborn sleep for up to 18 hours a day and have short awake-time. So after about 1 hour or 1 1/2, your baby may start showing signs of tiredness. Some of the tired signs in newborns are:
- tugging at his ears
- trying to rub the eyes
- not being able to focus his eyes
- arching his back
- start become a little unsettled and a bit restless
- suckling his finger
Signs of Sleepiness in Babies and Toddlers
Babies from 4 months and toddlers usually show a little more distinct signs of sleepiness. Some of these signs depends on your babies temperament and include:
- becoming fussy
- crying easily
- getting clingy and needing constant attention
- becomes bored with toys
- rubbing of eyes
What to do when you spot these signs of Sleepiness and Tiredness
- It is recommended to start a simple routine consisting of 2 or 3 calming activities like swaddling, cuddling, rocking or reading to your baby. A 5 to 10 minutes routine would be good enough for naps and up to 20 minutes for night sleep.
- Make it a quiet time by reducing the noise around your baby or moving him to a quiet area before he sleeps. If the house is noisy it might take your child longer to settle down and sleep.
- Reduce stimulating activities when your child starts to show signs of sleepiness. Talk quietly and soothingly, darken the room a bit with blinds or thick curtains during the day and dim the lights or lights out at night.
These are calming activities to get your baby settled. You might have to experiment to see what works for your baby. It could take a few days or a few weeks for your baby to start sleeping better. The important thing here is to be able to
- identify your baby’s sleep cues (signs of sleepiness)
- have a positive sleep routine or pick something that works for your baby
- be patient, committed and consistent because babies thrive well on consistency