How to Get an Overtired Baby to Sleep

Dealing with an overtired baby who won't sleep can be exhausting and frustrating for parents.

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine and sticking to it can help prepare your child for sleep at the end of each day. It also doesn't hurt to try other tricks, such as playing music, to soothe her to sleep when she's too tired and fussy to relax.

Implement a bedtime routine and stick to it. You can give your child a bath, read him a story, offer one last feeding and lay him down for the night. Eventually a baby will begin to recognize the signs and relax and prepare for sleep.

Keep the room cool. Many parents make the mistake of keeping the temperature too warm for babies to sleep comfortably. Dress your baby lightly in the same amount of clothes you wear to bed. If your baby has cold hands and feet throughout the night, try one of the wearable blankets made for infants that you can find at any baby store. Heavy blankets, mattress covers and quilts have been linked to a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, so avoid placing these items in her crib.

Turn down the lights. Soothe your baby by keeping her room dark during naps and at bedtime. The room does not have to be completely dark, but an overstimulated baby will respond well to a mostly dark room with just the light from a small lamp or nightlight.

Give your baby something to look at or listen to that will focus and calm him. Your overstimulated baby may respond well to a slow-moving mobile that he can focus on while he soothes himself to sleep, and he may enjoy white noise, soothing music or a bedtime story while drifting off to dreamland.

Swaddle your baby. Use a thin receiving blanket or a specially designed swaddling blanket to keep your baby's upper body wrapped tight and cozy. Ensure you can still slip your fingers in between her chest and the blanket to avoid interfering with her breathing. Swaddling can soothe a fussy, overtired baby and help her get some sleep. Newborns are accustomed to the womb's cramped quarters and swaddling can help recreate that feeling.


Pay attention to your infant and watch for cues that he's sleepy -- yawning and less active -- before he gets overtired.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends putting your child to sleep on her back to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.