How To Deal With Restless Sleep In Babies? 7 Essential Tips

✔ Research-backed

Many parents deal with restless sleep in babies and are curious to find a solution. However, sleep patterns vary from one child to another. Some babies wake up briefly during the night and go back to sleep, while others wake up frequently and cannot soothe themselves to sleep again.

If babies have disrupted dozing, it may be due to several factors. For example, they may not have started identifying the difference between day and night, need to feel more secure, are hungry, or have not developed a sleep routine. Therefore, to help babies sleep properly, parents need to be patient and observant of their needs.

Read this post to learn some effective tips to ensure restless babies calm down and sleep peacefully.

In This Article

7 Effective Tips On Making Your Restless Baby Sleep

Most moms are worried that their baby might lack in good sleep. Don’t forget that sleep comes naturally to babies, once their tummies are full! Thus, the key to good sleep is a well-fed baby.

A newborn baby needs to be fed at regular intervals, to ensure proper growth and development. If you want to know how to help restless baby sleep? Try the ideas listed below (1) (2):

1. Understand Your Baby’s Cues:

A sleepy baby may begin rubbing their eyes

Image: Shutterstock

Your baby cannot tell you that he or she is sleepy, but can definitely convey some clear signs of sleepiness.

  • If your little one is rubbing his eyes, pulling his ears or has puffy eyes, these are the signals that he is feeling sleepy. It is the perfect time to put him in bed.
  • When you delay your baby’s sleep time, he will become all the more restless and may not be able to sleep then.
  • Try taking notes to understand the sleep cues better, when the baby falls asleep, and how long the baby sleeps.

2. Let The Surroundings Speak:

A baby does not completely understand the difference between day and night, since most of the time he is inside the house.

  • Subtly teach him the difference by taking your newborn baby outside for a few minutes in the daylight, possibly in a bright corner of your terrace or foyer.
  • Always try to create a sleepy atmosphere at night. Reduce the external noise, dim the lights, and put him in bed to make him realize that playtime is over.

3. Avoid Sudden Change In Routine:

You might realize that a slight change in their surroundings makes your baby have a restless night.

  • Babies like to be present in a familiar environment along with familiar people.
  • So always try to have your child sleep in the same room, on the same bed or cot.

4. Understand The Wake Up Reasons:

Babies may wake up at night due to wet diapers

Image: Shutterstock

You might get annoyed by your baby’s night wakings and crying. There are reasons behind this act, which you need to understand.

  • Sometimes, they might have a wet diaper or even be hungry. Make a note of such disturbance and likewise make necessary changes in their diet.
  • Make sure your baby is well-fed before sleep time. Also ensure that the diaper he is wearing at night is good enough to last the entire night.

protip_icon Point to consider
Don’t over bundle your baby, and clothe them for room temperature. When your child is sleeping, don’t cover their head. Keep an eye out for symptoms of overheating, such as sweating (6).

5. Create A Sleep Routine:

Just like when you bring his feeding bottle, your baby understands that it is time to eat. Similarly, you need to create sleep associations.

  • Make a routine of giving a warm bath to your baby before sleep time.
  • If you sing a lullaby, then do it every day or record your piece of music and play it before sleep. Such a routine will make your baby fall asleep more easily.
protip_icon Quick tip
When your baby needs feeding during the night, use soft lights and gentle movements to soothe the baby. This will signal your little one to sleep and not play (6).

6. A Peaceful Day:

If your baby is cranky and restless during the day time, his nights are not going to be any different. You can help by making his day time mellow and calm.

  • You can keep the home atmosphere tranquil and spend more time with him to make his day easygoing.
  • Similarly, if your baby had a restless night, his days could be challenging.
  • So it helps to be prepared if your baby is cranky or fussy the next day.

7. Take Your Partner’s Support:

Delegate the responsibilities of the child equally between both parents

Image: Shutterstock

It is difficult to manage your baby single-handedly during the day as well as at night. It is a responsibility which you and your partner should share equally.

  • Typically, the mother or the nanny is the primary caregiver during the day. Ideally, you should get your partner to share responsibilities during night time.
  • When both parents are working, it is best to have an early discussion and delegate childcare responsibilities by mutual understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which syrup is best for restless baby sleep?

It is suggested that you must refrain from using any sleep medication to deal with your baby’s sleep issues. Moreover, if you feel your baby could be suffering from a medical problem such as reflux, you should contact a pediatrician to understand appropriate treatment interventions (1).

2. How should I massage my restless baby to sleep?

Try gently massaging your baby’s legs and back; it could help relieve any gas and soothes them. You may also try playing soft music while giving them a massage (2).

3. Do babies like sleeping in the dark?

Babies cannot differentiate between day and night until around two months (3). However, it is recommended that you put your baby to sleep in a dark, calm, and comfortable environment (1).

4. Are babies normally restless at night?

It is normal for babies to stay restless at night, especially during the first few months of life. Newborns and young babies are restless sleepers. They wake up often for feeding, diaper changes, or discomfort (4). Additionally, infants have shorter sleep cycles than adults.

5. What is the difference between restless sleep and sleep regressions?

Restless sleep is defined as random periods of discomfort or waking during sleep, often triggered by short-term factors like hunger or teething. On the other hand, sleep regressions are longer-term changes in sleep patterns associated with developmental milestones or growth spurts. While restless sleep can occur intermittently, sleep regressions often continue for a few weeks, resulting in increased night waking and fussiness in a previously good sleeper (4) (5).

Restless sleep in babies could be due to several underlying factors. Therefore, to prompt a good sleeping routine in your baby, you must be able to identify the cause. Then, take the necessary steps based on the cause. Check if your baby is feeling full by the time they go to bed. Alternatively, try to create a soothing sleep environment and abide by a sleeping schedule for your baby. If their tossing and turning still worries you, consult your child’s pediatrician.

Infographic: How To Help Your Baby Sleep Well?

Babies start sleeping throughout the night at around six months of age. Before that, and sometimes even past that age, babies frequently wake up at night or have a restless sleep. Changes in environment, developmental milestones, or illness often contribute to it. The infographic below suggests tips to help your baby sleep well.

tips to help your baby sleep well(infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Babies may be restless sleepers for several reasons, such as needing security, needing a diaper change, or hunger.
  • Parents can look for sleeping cues in babies, such as rubbing eyes or pulling ears, and create a proper environment for sleeping.
  • Setting a peaceful schedule for the baby during the day and a fixed sleep routine at night may help deal with the situation.
  • Singing lullabies and using white noise for the baby may help them fall asleep quickly and easily.
  • Nevertheless, it is crucial to consult a pediatrician if the baby’s restlessness seems never-ending.
Restless sleep in babies_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Learn all about baby sleep in this informative video! Get tips on how to help your baby get the proper sleep they need for their proper growth and development.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Sleep in Infants (2-12 Months).
    https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/specialties/sleep-disorder-center/sleep-in-infants
  2. Fussy Babies.
    https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/your-child/fussy-babies
  3. Baby sleep patterns by age.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/sleep-patterns-for-babies
  4. Your baby’s sleep patterns.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/after-birth/your-babys-sleep-patterns#:~:text=Newborn%20babies%20are%20usually%20restless,wake%20up%20throughout%20the%20night
  5. Typical sleep behaviour (4) – toddlers 1 to 2 years.
    https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/typical-sleep-behaviour-nb-1-2-years
  6. Sleep and your 1 to 3- month- old
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sleep13m.html
Was this article helpful?
Like buttonDislike button
The following two tabs change content below.
Dr. Regina Hardin is a board-certified pediatrician with over 20 years of experience in outpatient and inpatient pediatrics. She also has extensive training in diagnosing and treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.    Dr. Hardin completed her undergraduate studies in Biology at Talladega College in Alabama. Her medical school training was completed at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, pediatric...read full bio