Have you ever experienced being really exhausted but paradoxically, unable to sleep? I definitely have, and it's because of two little hormones in our body known as cortisol and adrenaline.
Cortisol, sometimes known as the "stress hormone," helps us to stay awake. And adrenaline, also known as the "fight or flight" hormone, helps us to focus. These are great effects for when we need to get stuff done, but in the sleep context, cortisol and adrenaline make it more challenging to fall to sleep and remain asleep.
The same thing that happens to us happens to babies when they’re overtired. When it is past their optimum age appropriate wake window, their small bodies produce additional cortisol as well as adrenaline. It becomes difficult for your infant to settle down because of these hormones, just as it is difficult for us adults.
The best way to prevent overtiredness in a baby is to pay attention to his or her tired cues, and make quick steps to move into a sleep routine soon after you’ve spotted them.
The table below summarizes the more typical signs of tiredness, by degree:
Use the table above to start keeping track of your baby’s specific tired signs. Do you recognise any trends? You should. :) Your baby's signals of tiredness usually follow a predictable pattern. By keeping an eye on your baby's sleep patterns, you can begin putting him or her down for a nap when you see that he or she is beginning to show signs of fatigue.
Here at Lullabub Sleepers, we recognise that even on a good day, getting your baby to sleep may be a challenge. If you’d like help identifying tired cues in your baby or how to prevent overtiredness, book a quick call with us today!