Why Is My Baby So Restless at Night?

Learn the causes of restlessness in babies and why your baby is restless before falling asleep

It is universally agreed that one of the hardest parts about being a new parent is figuring out how to ensure a good night’s sleep for your newborn, baby, and/or toddler. There are plenty of causes of restlessness in babies and reasons why your baby or newborn sleeps restless. There are also some solutions. Creating a nighttime – and naptime – routine is essential for your baby’s sleep hygiene. That means a calm, quiet environment and little to no stimulation other than perhaps some soft music. That said, some parents swear by white noise machines that create ambient sounds meant to soothe and comfort. There’s also snuggling, rocking, shhing, similar to what life was like in the womb. These are the things that are familiar to your baby and will likely help keep her calm. If however, you still have questions about how to soothe your restless sleeper, keep reading!

What is restless sleep for babies?

Restless sleep for babies means exactly how it sounds – that your baby is restless at night. This could mean that they toss and turn, seem to wake up several times a night, or change position. A lot of this is typical as babies find the world endlessly fascinating which creates a lot of stimulation for their little brains to absorb. If baby wakes up happy, then your baby restless sleep shouldn’t be a concern. If however, he wakes up tired and cranky every single day, that’s something to discuss with your healthcare provider as there may be an issue.

Why is my baby restless at night?

If your baby is restless before falling asleep there could be a few reasons. She may be overstimulated or even over tired. It’s important to keep up a consistent bedtime routine that starts the same time every night. This helps a successful pattern of night time sleep. Also, follow your baby’s sleep cues. If she’s rubbing her eyes or even pulling her ear, that could be a signal that she’s over tired. It’s best to put baby down when she’s just a little tired to better ensure a good nights sleep.

How do you calm a restless baby?

Getting your baby a good night’s sleep is every parent’s dream. There are a lot of products on the market that will help. White noise machines, rocking chairs or swings, black out shades. Of course, there’s also the Dreamland Baby line of products that help promote infant and toddler sleep! The weighted swaddle is perfect for babies up to 6 months, or try the weighted sleep sack if she’s older. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give your baby feelings of security and comfort – like a hug! Weighted sleep sacks are proven to calm your baby and help baby sleep better for longer stretches of time.

How can I help my restless baby sleep?

There are several methods to try when your baby is a restless sleeper.

  • Swaddling – the tight “burrito” feeling resembles life inside the womb which most babies find soothing
  • Fresh air – a walk outdoors or gentle swing time
  • Pass gas – sometimes tummy trouble interferes with a good nights sleep. Try to move her legs as if she’s cycling or gently pat her tummy
  • Consistent bedtime routine – a consistent routine does can do wonders for your little one’s quality of sleep
  • Keep in mind that helping your restless sleeper can be challenging at every stage. So if possible, try to take some time every day, even a few minutes, to get outside, breathe some fresh air, and spend some “me” time. It’s likely that the better you feel, the more patience you’ll have in caring for your little one… and that can make the time spent with baby less stressful.

Are babies normally restless at night?

Since every baby is different, it’s hard to know what is “normal” when it comes to your child. You know them better than anyone so it’s good to keep in mind that newborns up to 4 months spend the majority of their sleep time in REM sleep. REM sleep is significant as it helps their little brains process new information and for a baby, everything is new information! REM is the stage of sleep in which we dream which can sometimes cause us to move around at night, or even make noise. REM sleep may make your baby appear to be restless at night but dreaming is a healthy part of their development.

Can teething cause restless sleep?

Grown-ups and babies alike can really suffer when it comes to teeth pain! When it comes to your baby, in addition to some sleeplessness, other signs of teething may also include fussiness and drooling. Offer up a frozen wash cloth for baby to chew on, or even massage her gums. Restless sleep associated with teething will typically subside once those cute little baby teeth make an appearance.

What is the difference between restless sleep and sleep regressions?

Sleep regression often occurs during a growth spurt causing baby to wake up frequently during the night as she develops and grows. Sleep regressions can also be cause for nap and nighttime fussiness. While growth spurts can be so exciting, they can also be met with some frustration as sleep routines can get out of whack. Try not to worry as growth spurts generally last just a few days… until the next one!

What do you do when your baby won't sleep at night?

The most important, and something most challenging, thing you can do when your baby won’t sleep, is stay calm! It’s so hard when you feel sleep deprived and absolutely exhausted, but it’s important to breathe through it. Keep the lights low if you have to turn them on at all, soft music or white noise may help calm her, and a gentle shh-pat or snuggle-sway may just do the trick! Also, routine is everything! Start it at the same time every night… whether it’s bath, books, bottle, bed or whatever your routine, consistency goes a long way. Of course, if sleep continues to be a persistent issue, by all means consult with your childcare provider.

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Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, 0-6 months (2nd Gen)