Why Do Babies Cry When Sleepy?

why do babies cry when sleepy

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Have you ever wondered why babies cry when they’re sleep-deprived, even though it’s the exact opposite of what their bodies need? ‘Why Do Babies Cry When Sleepy?’ is an age-old question with multiple answers, but understanding them could help parents soothe agitated infants and provide much-needed rest. In this post, we’ll dive into the science behind baby cries that come when they should be napping or night sleeping and explore strategies to prevent them.

Reasons: Why Do Babies Cry When Sleepy?

 Here are a few of the top reasons why babies cry when sleepy. 

why do babies cry when sleepy

1) Sleep Cycle Transition

Babies go through different sleep cycles throughout the day and night. During a transition between two cycles of sleep, a baby may become restless and start to cry due to an inability to settle into one specific cycle of sleep.

The transition between light sleep and deep sleep can cause anxiety in babies due to an increase in heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tone, and body temperature as they move from one cycle of sleep to another. 

2) Teething Pain

As a baby’s teeth come in, many experience pain that causes discomfort and difficulty sleeping. A baby who is teething will often show signs of irritability, such as crying or fussing when touched or moved around too much. This type of discomfort can also make it difficult for your baby to settle down into their sleep cycle which can result in more crying before falling asleep.  

3. REM Sleep

Understanding why babies cry in their sleep or when they are sleepy is to understand the different stages of sleep. Babies go through cycles of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is divided into four stages—stage 1, stage 2, slow wave or delta sleep, and active (or paradoxical) sleep. During active sleep, babies are most likely to move their arms and legs, smile, grimace or even cry out loud. Baby crying usually happens during the transition from one stage to another as babies fall asleep. 

4. Baby’s Nervous System 

Another reason why babies cry when sleepy is because their nervous system is still developing. This means that their bodies are not yet able to regulate their temperature or adjust to environmental changes such as noise or bright lights.

In addition, their reflexes may cause them to startle suddenly and inadvertently wake themselves up which can result in crying due to fear or discomfort. This can be especially true if your baby has had a particularly long day filled with stimulation and new experiences!  

5. Separation Anxiety

The bond between parent and child is incredibly strong, so it’s natural for a baby to feel anxious when separated from their loved ones during sleep time! Make sure you give your little one lots of cuddles and reassurance while putting them down for sleep; this will help ease any anxiety they may be feeling about being away from you at night.

Read More: How To Swaddle With Arms Out

6. Overstimulation

Babies can often become overstimulated due to external factors, such as being in a loud environment or having too much attention directed at them at once. This can make it difficult for your little one to relax and fall asleep, resulting in a crying fit instead. 

How To Calm Babies Who Cry When They Are Sleepy

There are some simple steps you can take to help calm babies who cry when they are sleepy. 

Don’t Rush To Soothe

If your little one is crying, first try to let them settle down. This might sound counterintuitive, but by waiting a few minutes before you go in to soothe them, you can help teach your baby that it is okay to be alone and fall asleep on their own. 

why do babies cry when sleepy

Read More: How To Co-Sleep With Twins

Get A Bassinet

Consider getting a bassinet for the baby’s room; this will make it easier for you to get up during the night if your baby wakes up crying and needs comfort. The bassinet will also provide an environment that is just right for sleep—not too big or too small, not too warm or too cold—which can help babies feel more secure and comfortable.

Plus, bassinets require less space than cribs which means you can have it close by (within arm’s reach) so you don’t have to get out of bed each time the baby needs comforting.  

Use A Pacifier

A pacifier can help calm babies who cry when they are sleepy by providing something for them to suck on. This helps distract them from feeling overwhelmed or scared, which makes it easier for them to fall asleep without crying. But keep in mind that pacifiers should only be used once your baby has developed the appropriate sucking reflexes; otherwise, they may find it difficult or impossible to latch onto the pacifier properly. 

Swaddle Your Baby

Swaddling is one of the best ways to calm fussy babies when they’re sleepy. Wrapping your baby in a light blanket helps them feel secure and comforted, which can help ease their crying. It also helps reduce startle reflexes, allowing them to drift off into a peaceful sleep. 

Rock Them

Rocking your baby gently back and forth can be soothing and calming for both of you. The movement mimics the rocking motion of the womb, which babies find comforting and familiar. You could also try taking your baby for a walk in their stroller or bouncing them on your lap while singing lullabies or playing soothing music in the background. 

Read More: Should Twins Sleep In The Same Room?

why do babies cry when sleepy

Read More: What Should A Baby Wear Under A Sleep Sack? 

Make White Noise

White noise such as running water or fan noise is often used to soothe babies who are having trouble settling down for naptime or bedtime. White noise blocks out other sounds that may be distracting or upsetting, creating a peaceful atmosphere where your little one can easily relax and fall asleep without fussiness or tears!  

Wrapping Up

Babies cry when sleepy for a variety of reasons. They may be cold, hungry, or uncomfortable. They may also be overtired or overstimulated. If your baby is crying when sleepy, try to calm them down with a warm drink, a gentle massage, or by rocking them in a cradle. You can also try swaddling your baby in a blanket to help them feel safe and secure. If you are still having trouble getting your baby to sleep, consult your pediatrician for more advice.

Read More: How Many Swaddles Do I Need?


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Jenny Chaines

Jenny Chaines

Having the perfect bassinet is something that every mother wants for her child.
I've been doing my own due diligence since the day I knew I was pregnant and I'm here to let you in on the ins and outs of it all...

About Me

Having the perfect bassinet is something that every mother wants for her child.
I’ve been doing my own due diligence since the day I knew I was pregnant and I’m here to let you in on the ins and outs of it all…

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