Why Do Babies Fight Sleep

Why do babies fight sleep?, lets get to find out. Babies, just like adults sometimes fight sleep. Although an adult may struggle to fight sleep due to reasons like trying to stay awake to study for an exam or trying to listen to an ongoing lecture, for babies the case is quite different.

Babies tend to fight sleep due to a number of factors ranging from psychological factors like: separation anxiety or physical factors such as overtiredness.  These factors lead to the unsettling feelings babies may experience, causing babies to cause a fuss, rub their eyes, yawn and at the same time cry. This in turn makes it even more difficult for babies to settle down and sleep. Hiccups can also be one of the reasons.


In answering the question ” Why do babies fight sleep?”, we should understand that a lot of factors that are responsible for the Causes Babies to fight sleep. The first step in knowing why babies fight sleep is identifying the possible causes why babies fight sleep. The first three most commonest factor to check out first why babies fight are:

(1) Hunger

 Babies when hungry, would immediately cause a fuss by crying signaling that they’re in need of their nourishment. This is due to the fast growing rate of babies, which also increases their appetite. Because of this growth which takes place in the first few years after they’re born, they need plenty of nourishment to make up for their growth.

For this reason, whether babies are being bottle fed or breast fed, it is good to ensure that they’re fed several intervals per day, taking note of the quantity per serving according to their age and instructions of the Pediatrician.

(2) Illness

 Getting ill causes lots of discomfort even as an adult talks more of an infant. Babies too also get sick causing them to experience these discomfort which may likely affect the baby’s sleep. It’s always important to check with the doctor or other health personnel of the accompanying signs and symptoms of certain illness and medications as well as the possible ways to help relieve the baby of such discomfort.

(3) Dirty Diapers

Once a baby diaper is soiled, due to excessive urine and feces, this makes the baby feel uncomfortable. This in turn can also cause a baby to fight sleep due to lack of comfort he/she is experiencing. As such, mothers and care takers should endeavor to check on the baby diapers regularly as neglect can lead to the baby having a diaper rash, apart from the initial discomfort the baby may experience

(4) Overtiredness/Under Tiredness

For adults once our body is exhausted, the first thing that naturally takes place, is that we would fall asleep almost immediately. But for babies it may be a different scenario for babies. Once a baby’s bedtime is delayed, i.e.  their window time, they become overtired and end up being cranky, frantic and hyper making it difficult for them to settle down.

Meanwhile when a baby is under tired, i.e. not genuinely tired. It could be a change in their growth and development which could also affect their sleep patterns. It could also be as a result of the baby having a longer nap for that day which is situational. That is why this post “Why do babies fight sleep” is recommended for all.


  • Overstimulation: It’s a fact that babies are always hyperactive and have a heightened sensory stimulation especially when they’re engaged in exciting plays with seemingly interesting sets of toys or when the environment has loud music or bright lights. These conditions make it difficult for babies to fall asleep especially before bed time. They may linger in the state of being wired.
  • Separation Anxiety: Babies usually from 8-18 months have that tendency to get attached to their mothers or caregivers and as such they don’t want to be separated from them and always want to be held. Then the baby is having separation anxiety and as such may fight sleep because they don’t want to leave the warmth of their mothers or caregivers.
  • Circadian Rhythm: As babies start to develop, they begin to establish a real sleep schedule which is as a result of the matured circadian rhythm which is a 24 hour cycle that regulates their  bodies at around six weeks. These changes in sleeping patterns may cause a baby to fight sleep.
  • Rapid Development: Since it is inevitable that babies would progress from babbling to talking to rolling to sitting up to standing up or learning new skills, some babies may experience a sleep setback causing them to fight sleep has they are practicing their new found developments. Teething which is another form of development and happens around 6 months could cause babies to fight sleep due the pain in acquiring a new set of teeth.
  • Changes in Environment and Weather: There are some babies that find it difficult to sleep when found in a different environment rather from the one they are accustomed to. They may end up fighting sleep due to their infant curiosity or due to the fact that they still find it difficult to get accustomed to their new environment. This is common in cases when mothers or caregivers travel far away from home or are on a trip together with the baby.

 Extreme heat or cold causes a baby to fight sleep. This is because of the drop or rise in temperature. They may find it difficult to adjust to such a weather condition. A cooling and heating system should be used in such cases to promote better and easy sleep for the babies.


Considering the subject matter for the discussion “Why do babies fight sleep”, we are going to enumerate different signs why infant and babies do fight sleep. Few of them are:

1. A lot of crying

2. They wake up as soon as you put them down

3. They take time to sleep

4. They rub their eyes

5. They engage in incessant yawning.


  1. Set Up A Sleep or Restful Routine: It’s good for mothers and caregivers to set up a consistent routine and has a way to help babies fall asleep. But this should be based on the lifestyle of both the baby and mother or care giver. Their overall sleep needs such as dimming the lights, playing relaxing music, taking a bath or cuddling them are all better ways to lead a baby to sleep.      
  2. Take Note of Sleep Cues: Signs like rubbing of the eyes, yawning or loss of interest in play is a cue that your baby is tired and should be put to bed. The mother or caregiver should take note of the baby’s sleep cue to  avoid the baby becoming overtired.                                                                                    
  3. Create A Conducive Environment: All factors that could hinder a baby from sleeping should be eliminated. From noise to screen and play items should be removed to enable the baby to sleep on time. This should be done at least thirty minutes before the baby’s sleep time or when sleep cues are noticed. Blackout curtains and white noise can be used to encourage a good restful environment.In cases where the environment is too hot or too cold, a cooling system or heating system should be provided to help the baby without having to fight before sleeping. These alternatives should be used when necessary

4.  Dedicate Daytime to Plays and Nigh time to Sleep: Give your baby that much time to play during the day but not also neglecting daytime nap. Let the baby use this time to practice those newly acquired development and movement. This can help the baby sleep better and longer at night. If the entire day is dedicated to sleep, then the baby may find it hard to sleep at night.   

  5. Keep Calm: It is rather frustrating to a mother or caregiver when they’re to put a baby to rest and their baby is still fighting sleep. This should be done with utmost patience. Be relaxed and coax them gently which will help them calm down and eventually fall asleep.  

  6. Practice Separation: For babies that suffer from separation anxiety, caregivers and mother’s should practice separation regularly. This can be taught by leaving the room for a few seconds at a time. Familiarize the baby with other members of the family or friends. Do well to take the baby to social gatherings of close friends or relatives so as to get used to other people’s presence.

It is normal for babies to have irregular sleep patterns, as it is part of their circadian rhythm. When a baby encounters difficulty sleeping, it might not necessarily mean a very serious issue. However if a baby is seen to have these changes then its best to contact the Pediatrician.

When the baby gets less sleep which is not appropriate for his age• When the baby is sick• When the baby’s sleep disorders is causing the mother’s serious psychological or other health issues,• When an established sleep schedule and other normal measures do not work


In this article “Why do babies fight sleep” we have discuss the topic exhaustively. According to Pediatric Research, infants, parents and caregivers often struggle with irregular sleep schedules in the early months. Subsequently, most babies eventually learn to sleep on established sleep schedules although the time may vary from baby to baby. However, parents and caregivers should develop good and healthful sleep practices that can help the baby remain asleep longer.

If all possible options have been practiced to cope with babies’ sleep fighting and it doesn’t seem to work, do well to contact your pediatrician. Lack of sleep can cause sleep issues to either the parent or caregiver, Pediatrician, Sleep Consultants and other experts should help in managing sleep issues for them.   

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