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What Does it Mean to Be Overtired?

what is overtirednessIf you have a baby, you are familiar with overtiredness.

Overtiredness lies somewhere between tired and exhausted. It’s that window of time when your baby is too tired to fall asleep easily. You’ve probably been overtired yourself. You feel uncomfortable and antsy. You may even have a headache. But as an adult, you can calm yourself enough to fall asleep.

A baby, however, doesn’t have the right control to relax themselves, so that anxiety remains. Often an overtired baby will simply stay awake until they are outright exhausted.

How to recognize an overtired baby

Your baby can become overtired about an hour after first feeling tired. Ideally you want to recognize the tired signs and put your baby to sleep, but if you miss them, you could end up in overtired territory. Here’s how to tell.

  • Your baby is suddenly hyperactive.
  • Your baby is fighting sleep.
  • Your baby is easily annoyed by the slightest sounds or sights.
  • Your baby isn’t making eye contact or interacting with you.
  • Your baby is clingy.
  • Your baby is whining or whimpering.
  • Your baby has sudden outbursts of emotion.

Even though it’s a struggle, you should try to put your baby to sleep right away if you feel he or she is overtired.

How to help chronically overtired children

A child who becomes overtired frequently experiences chronic sleep deprivation. Keep in mind that sleep is an important part of growing up. It’s when the brain and body does a majority of its growing. So keeping your child from sleep is robbing them of their healthy development. Sleep deprived children exhibit some of these signs:

  • Undereating
  • Fussy behavior
  • Developmental delay
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Overstimulation

The solution is simple: more sleep. Do not judge how much sleep your child needs based on what your friends say or what you read online. Judge the amount of sleep your child needs based on your child’s behavior. Did you cut back to one nap too soon? Are you letting him or her stay up too late at night and then waking them in the morning to start the day?

Children who suffer from sleep deprivation take a few days to catch up. They won’t feel fine after just one night’s sleep. Spend a weekend prioritizing sleep. Make the sleep environments quiet and dark to really stretch out those naps. Keep rough play to a minimum and start sleep times as soon as they exhibit signs. You can work out of sleep deprivation, but it takes time.

In short, when your baby becomes overtired, use that as an opportunity to examine your sleep routine and make the appropriate adjustments.

safe sleep solutionWritten by Joanna von Yurt, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Co-Founder and CEO of Swanling Innovations Inc.

Joanna von Yurt is the mother of three intelligent, sensitive, and compassionate girls (who all want to be mommies when they grow up). She is first AND foremost a mom! Professionally, however, she is an accountant, controller and serial entrepreneur.

Joanna has a degree in Psychology from Harvard University with an emphasis in child psychology. She worked as an infant caregiver for 12 years and interned as a Child Life Specialist, family/social therapist, and assisted in clinical studies involving children’s personality and social psychology. Joanna is a Certified Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) Prevention Professionals, Safe Sleep Educator, Member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants, Member of the National Sleep Foundation, and Member of the Canadian Sleep Society.

Joanna has a lifelong passion for childcare and child safety. She enjoys sharing her experiences with other parents about sleep routines, attachment parenting, safe sleep guidelines, and children’s natural sleep patterns. Her company, Swanling Innovations, is committed to producing modern, safe and innovative products that meet the expectations of discerning parents. The Slumber Sleeper™ is a 4-in 1 safe sleep solution (mattress protector, flat sheet, fitted sheet and sleep sack all in one) designed to help keep your baby safe, warm and centered.

Joanna always says that a well-rested child and well-rested parents add up to a happy family!

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