Why do Babies Fight Sleep? Main Causes

Watching your baby fight sleep can be very frustrating, you know they’re tired, so why won’t they just sleep? Learn more about why babies fight sleep in this article

Why do Babies Fight Sleep?

Although listening to your child cry is a normal part of parenting, it can be extremely difficult when your baby is crying before falling asleep.

We’ve compiled a list of many reasons to help you understand why babies fight sleep to help you navigate the nighttime protests. Following that, we’ll look at how to get a baby to stop fighting sleep and strategies to help you solve your sleep problems.

What Causes Babies to Fight Sleep?

Knowing why your child is having trouble sleeping will help you address the issue and ensure they get some much-needed Zzzs. So, what are the possible causes of insomnia?

1. Overtired

While your exhaustion likely means you easily fall asleep the moment you stop moving (mid-Netflix viewing, anyone?) it doesn’t always work quite that way for your little one.

Babies often have a window during which they are primed to fall asleep. If you miss the window they can become overtired, leading to irritability, fussing, and trouble settling down.

3. Not Tired Enough

On the other hand, your baby may not be ready for sleep because they aren’t tired enough.

This could be an isolated event, caused by something like today’s nap running longer than usual, or it could be a sign that they’re growing and developing, and their sleep needs are changing.


4. Overstimulation

You’ve probably heard a million times to avoid screens for an hour before bed in order to fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep.

The same is true for your little one, but it goes beyond screens. Noisy toys, loud music, or exciting play can leave them feeling overwhelmed and unable to calm down for sleep.

5. Separation Anxiety

Has your little one been like a shadow, always wanting to be held and never more than a few steps away all day? It’s likely that they’re feeling some separation anxiety, which can show up at bedtime as well.

Often seen anywhere from 8 to 18 months, your baby may fight sleep because they don’t want you to leave.

6. Circadian Rhythm

Infants start to develop their circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle that regulates our bodies, at around 6 weeks old.

These circadian rhythms mature enough to establish a true sleep schedule around 3 to 6 months old. And of course, every baby is different, so some may not establish a real sleep schedule until after that.

7. Hunger

Your little one is doing some serious growth in the first few years — most babies triple their birth weight by their first birthday.

All that growth demands plenty of nourishment.

Make sure that your baby is getting an appropriate number of feedings a day, depending on their age, how much they’re taking in at each feed, and whether they are breast or bottle-fed.

8. Illness

Sometimes discomfort from an illness can affect your baby’s sleep.

Keep an eye out for other symptoms of illnesses like ear infections or colds.

What can you do when your Baby Fights Sleep?

The steps you take will be determined in part by the reasons your baby is having difficulty sleeping, but the following suggestions are useful for creating a positive sleep environment regardless of your challenges:

1. Learn your Baby’s Sleep Cues

Watch closely for signs that your baby is tired and put them to bed within minutes of signs like eye rubbing, yawning, avoiding eye contact, fussing, or losing interest in play.

Keep in mind that some waking periods may be as short as 30 to 45 minutes for young infants.

2. Establish and Keep a Soothing Bedtime Ritual

Taking a bath, reading books, and cuddling in a favorite chair — are all ways to help ease a child to sleep.

Be consistent and do the same things in the same order around the same time each night.


It can be very frustrating to watch your baby struggle to sleep. However, the majority of the time, they respond to one of the interventions listed above. We’ve believed the above piece of information was useful. Please, kindly share this content on all platforms.

CSN Team.

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