Overtiredness is one of the most commonly occurring causes of sleep struggles and is relatively simple to rectify, that is, once we see it.
Many parents KNOW the feeling of overtiredness only too well; when you finally get to bed for that much anticipated sleep and it doesn’t happen as easily as it seemed it would. The human body, unfortunately, cannot just maintain a state of tiredness. IF sleep isn’t forthcoming the body continues to change and tiredness rapidly becomes overtiredness.
When you experience that tired feeling, it means your brain is telling your body it needs sleep. Most parents know what overtired feels like, but just to jog your mind, this is the time we usually see the characteristics of our temperament a little more clearly. Some adults become very quiet and passive, while others can be quite the opposite! Some become jittery and twitchy and a bit reactive, some just stare blankly while others become irritable and grumpy.
Babies are just as susceptible to overtiredness as adults, if not a little more and they can have great difficulty calming to prepare for sleep.
Avoiding overtiredness means picking up early on what your baby looks like when they are first starting to become tired. Babies show much the same tired signs as adults, if you look closely. Tired signs start subtly, but as the baby becomes increasingly tired they become more and more evident. Often early tired signs can be as subtle as just a moment of unfocused gazing, or readily becoming bored with an activity. As the brain prepares more and more for sleep, the signs become increasingly obvious and darkened areas under the eyes are seen, movements become jerky and they may become irritable and are often easily overwhelmed. As time passes, the baby’s window of opportunity to drift to sleep will begin to close.
When a baby is yawning, crying and rubbing their eyes repeatedly, overtiredness is very close. When they become overtired, babies experience much greater difficulty drifting to sleep and require much more assistance. The key is to prevent your baby becoming overtired by watching for early tired signs so you can have your baby ready for sleep before that window of opportunity for calm sleep, passes.
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