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How to Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep?

It is impossible to be perfect in childcare. All parents make mistakes. Some are serious and some are harmless. All of them have a pop-up or obvious consequences.

Compliance with the regime and the stable maintenance of sleep norms is rather laborious work. Mom has older children, a husband, parents, work, and household chores in addition to a small child. It is easy to get lost and get out of the usual rhythm in such an environment. Didn’t control it a bit and the child is already in a state of overwork, excitement, and tantrums.

All moms have their ways to fix things. Some of them were perfected for months and some were tested spontaneously. They work anyway. Let’s take a closer look at why overwork occurs, what are its features, and how to put such a child to sleep.

What is fatigue in a child?

A state in which the nervous system is overloaded is called overwork. It can acquire both temporary and chronic forms. Such situations in infants occur more often due to the immaturity of the nervous system. Older children may suffer from chronic forms of overwork associated with a constant high workload.

The main cause of overwork is the lack of balance between vigorous activity and rest. Children are often naughty, refuse to sleep during the day, and then cannot sleep at night in infancy. This indicates that the child is overtired.

How do you know if your child is overtired?

To accurately determine whether the current situation is overwork, you need to know the signs of this condition. In infants under 1-year-old, this manifests itself by the end of the day and it is quite simple to identify overwork. Here is an example of the behavior of overworked children:

Cry for no reason when falling asleep

The child can cry very strongly and for a long time at the time of falling asleep. Sometimes it turns into hysterical crying excitedly. He suffers, does not calm down for a long time, and then abruptly falls asleep. The body seems to turn off being exhausted.

Requires a mother

This is typical for small children up to 1.5 years. They are mischievous, asking for hands, and crying. They need to always be there and don’t let go of their mother. They demand that she sit or lie nearby, not leave. The child does not sleep and is very restless.

Long laying to sleep

Each child has a time interval for laying. The baby should fall asleep quickly if not overtired. The child is overtired when the time to go to sleep is delayed and reaches half an hour or even an hour. It is difficult for him to relax, calm down and fall asleep.

Restless sleep

The child sleeps anxiously even if it was possible to put him down. Such children toss and turn, cry through sleep, and often wake up. Their periods of sleep are short, intermittent, and not restful. It takes time to improve the quality of sleep after severe overwork.

Excited state or increased energy

This is a behavior in which the baby should be tired, but the opposite happens. He has a burst of energy in the evening. He runs, jumps on the bed, screams, and laughs. It is difficult for him to get out of this state and stop.


Sleep deprivation is a more serious condition. It is more likely to be characteristic of older children. This is a chronic form of overwork with which it is better to consult a doctor. The child cannot sleep for no apparent reason. Sometimes it lasts until morning.

Causes of overwork in children of different ages

It is necessary to know the age characteristics of the nervous system in children to understand the causes of overwork. Each age has its shortcomings in the work of the brain and its perception of overexcitation. It responds to the behavior, violation of biorhythms, and the psyche of the child.

Babies under 1-year-old are prone to frequent overwork. This is due to the immaturity of the nervous system. The situation improves slightly after a year but is still unstable. It is necessary to strictly observe the regimen and monitor the balance of motor activity, mental work, and rest.

Children are prone to very rapid overexcitation and slow sedation before 2 years of age. The predominance of excitation processes, the lack of regulated inhibition, and the release of stress hormones lead to overtired.

Immaturity of the nervous system

The immaturity of the nervous system is typical for newborns and children under 1-year-old and is difficult to correct. It requires strict adherence to the regimen and a balance between sleep and wakefulness.

The predominance of excitation processes

The predominance of excitation processes is characteristic of children under 1.5 years of age. The reason is due to the age characteristics of the nervous system. Children of this age are highly impressionable and quickly sink into a state of excitability from which it is difficult to get out.

Failure in sleep and rest

This is an imbalance between periods of wakefulness and sleep. The consequences of regime failure are most clearly visible in infants. They can affect overwork and at an older age. Sleep disturbances in children from 0 years of age and older are characteristic.


The active production of cortisol in response to stressful situations leads to severe overwork. Children should not be under stress. This threatens more serious health problems than just sleep disturbances due to overwork.

If the baby is small and does not yet speak, this does not mean that he is not subject to stress. This cause of overwork remains relevant for both newborn children and school-age children.


Some parents try to load their children with additional activities and educational games as much as possible and earlier. This gives negative results. This cause of overwork is typical for the age of 6 months. Young children are not prone to sustained attention. Their activities should not be the same. You always need to dilute mental activities with physical ones. Brain overload leads to fatigue.

Physical fatigue

Physical fatigue is characteristic of infants during the period of the emergence of new physical skills: holding the head, turning over, sitting, crawling, etc. Severe fatigue may be the result of unmetered exercises to train new skills and abilities. It also manifests itself after massage sessions that do not end with sleep. It can occur at any age.

How to prevent overwork and problems with falling asleep?

The most typical problems with falling asleep occur in children due to the disorganization of their parents. Regimen failures cannot be eliminated, but gaps can be compensated for. Tips for preventing overwork:

Follow the daily norms of sleep

Be sure to keep track of age-related changes in sleep patterns. They should not seriously deviate from established standards. It doesn’t matter if it’s daytime or nighttime. The main thing is that in the total amount the baby sleeps as much as he should by age.

Balance of sleep and wakefulness

Do not allow the child to remain without sleep after playing, outdoor recreation, and physical activities. Rest should come after the activity. Do not exceed the allowable waking hours by age.

Do not rush to remove naps

Follow the norms by age, without giving up focusing on the needs of your child. Some children sleep during the day for 2-3 hours per sleep, others for half an hour. The shorter the naps, the more they should be. Stick to the rhythm of the intervals between sleeps. Remove naps only after the baby completely refuses them on his own.

Don’t overdo it with gadgets

Dose the time spent by the child in front of a computer monitor, TV screen, or tablet. Stop watching cartoons or entertainment programs in the evening completely. Rapidly changing shots and vivid emotional scenes lead to overexcitation of the nervous system.

Ways to get an overtired baby to sleep

What to do when you find all the signs of overwork in your child? The solution to this issue will depend entirely on the age of the baby. The measures taken should correspond to the characteristics of the nervous system during this period. Here is an example of the most effective ways to soothe and put your baby to sleep:

Lay quickly and at any time

Urgently put to bed if the signs of overwork and overexcitation are obvious and there is no doubt that the baby is tired. Let it take more time and will not correspond to the regime, the main thing is that his nervous system needs to be rebooted right now. It is necessary to catch signs of fatigue in time: increased irritability, tearfulness, exactingness, yawning, and tantrums.


It is easier to deal with overwork if the baby is breastfed. It is enough just to attach the baby to the breast in time, hold him in your arms for a while, and he is already calm and sleeping. The warmth of the mother’s body and the taste of milk act as the best sedative.

Relaxing rituals

Relaxation rituals are good helpers for putting to sleep overwork. These can be soothing baths made from salt and essential oils; relaxing massage or stroking; subdued light and calm music; bedtime story or lullaby.

Stay close

Do not leave the child alone with you in moments of overexcitation, increased energy, tantrums, or crying. Better if mom is around. The child is not able to independently get out of tantrums for up to 5 – 7 years. He does not understand what is wrong with him and how to deal with it.

Stay close to the child until bedtime: sit down next to the crib and whisper kind words to him. Hugs, a languid, monotonous voice, and light swaying can help.

Warm drink

You can try to give the baby tea to drink if age allows and the baby no longer eats the breast. Warm milk or a mixture works well. This method is only effective if the child does not show increased energy and does not jump around the house.

Sleep atmosphere

A prerequisite for calming and laying down when overexcited and overworked is the creation of the proper atmosphere. Silence, darkness, and tranquility must reign in the room. Remove all toys, sound, and light devices.

Wait it out

You can try to wait out the peak period of overwork in a calm state and with the sufficient maternal resource. The child will sooner or later become exhausted and will not be able to resist laying down. Postpone this moment until there is a break in tantrums and crying. Again suggest falling asleep as soon as you notice a drop in energy.


Oxygen is the best sleeping pill for babies. Ventilate the room well before laying. Open a window for free access to oxygen if weather permits. Fresh air will help the process of falling asleep and slightly reduce the level of overwork.

Hold on hands

This method already belongs to the category of cardinal. “Body to body” always works flawlessly. You don’t need to rock the baby. Just pick it up and walk around the room. The baby should touch the body as much as possible. Slings are great for this.

White noise

This method works well in infancy. The older the child, the more difficult it is to apply such methods. You can use the sounds of nature as background soothing noise: the murmur of water, the sound of the wind, the sound of rain, or birdsong. The monotonous noise emitted by household appliances: hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, and fan will help calm the little ones.

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