Why do Babies Fight Sleep? 5 Major Reasons You’ll Need to Know

why do babies fight sleep

If you ever wondered “why do babies fight sleep?”, You are definitely not alone. When your little one trying to avoid sleep, it’ll be such a frustrating dilemma. And even if you follow the bedtime routine, have him fed and change the nappy, he may still fight against his tiredness to stay awake. So it’s time to understand sleep fighters to help your baby have a peaceful sleep time.

Why do babies fight sleep?

Inappropriate tiredness

When your baby is either overtired or under-tired, he will be unable to sleep. In the cases of overtired babies, the sheer exhaustion keeps them away from sleeping. Many parents keep the baby up with the aim to tiring him out. However, this does not bring anything but the opposite effect. The baby is too tired to ready himself for the sleep.

An overtired baby is a strong sleep fighter as an under-tired baby. A baby who is not ready to sleep yet will fight against the sleep with Herculean effort. She is wide awake and happy to play more. This situation is most usual in toddlers when they start to know how to move around and explore.

Inappropriate stimulation

Babies are natural little learning enthusiasts. They watch and take in everything around them. And for this reason, some babies are so willing to learn more than sleeping seems too dull to them. They always want fun that never ends. And because sleeping interferes with his learning plan, he will then protest.

It seems to be an initial instinct of parents to fulfill the need for stimulation for their baby. However, when offering them stimulations excessively, they will want to stay awake so that they can continue exploring and playing. Most babies are very likely to be overstimulated with vibrant colors, loud noises, and activities.

Why do babies fight sleep?

Separation anxiety

Going through her developmental stages, the baby begins to feel her own feelings. She starts to be close with the caregivers all the time, which makes sleeping no longer a priority. With the strong emotional attachment with parents, the baby becomes anxious when the parents are not around.

In these circumstances, the baby anticipates sleeping as the departure from her loved ones. And she will then fight back the sleep to attract parents’ attention. More than often as the parents we enjoyed it at first because of this innocent cuteness. However, as the baby becomes too “sticky”, we feel frustrated and even annoyed.


Many parents don’t really know why do babies fight sleep because they ignore the significance of the feeding habit. Specifically, they break the daily meals into many snacks. Consequently, the baby might feel hunger in the middle of the sleep and wake up prematurely to seek for another snack.

So instead of snacking throughout the day, it’s advisable to encourage the baby to take full feedings. The baby can also fall asleep at the breast or bottle. This will keep the baby sleep tightly and avoid waking up due to snacking.

Internal body clock

The internal body clock is light sensitive, which tells us when to wake and when to sleep. And in babies, this clock starts ticking when they turn four months old. When this circadian rhythm is affected, it changes the patterns of sleep, hunger, activities.

It also causes the fluctuation is hormones and body temperature, leading to the sleep fighting in babies. Thus, parents should be well aware of the significance of the consistency in the baby’s daily routine to keep his body clock work on a stable basis.

What to do when your baby fights sleep?


Some parents avoid swaddling because they think their baby doesn’t like it. The fact is, even though the baby may fight swaddling, it does not mean that they don’t appreciate it. Swaddling is safe and cozy, and more importantly, it offers the same familiarity as when the baby was swaddled in mother’s womb.

Also, swaddling can keep the baby from jerking themselves awake when they startle during their sleep. Thus, parents should feel confident to swaddle their baby with both arms in.

Create an ideal sleeping environment

The equipment and applications inside the baby’s bedroom can heavily affect the quality of their sleep. It’s important to equip the room with darkening shades, sound fan, screens, and white noise machines.

Before the sleep time, parents can also nurse their baby in the dim and quiet environment where there is no distraction to him. And instead of doing activities that will stimulate them or make them giggle, run or jump around, it’s better to focus on soothing and winding them down for the sleep.

Establish good sleeping habit

Good sleeping habit involves putting the baby to sleep in her own crib or bassinet when she’s still awake. It’s common for many parents to cuddle their baby to sleep. This habit ends up with the baby being so familiar with the warm snuggle sessions.

Thus, it’s crucial to allows the baby go learn how to fall asleep on her own. And this habit will enable her to soothe herself back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the sleep. For the habit to start forming, there must be great patience from the parents.


Understanding why do babies fight sleep will help parents to deal with their little sleep fighter. It may take parents days or even weeks to make their baby’s sleeping habit go into the proper orbit. Thus, remember to always stick to your plan. The more consistent you are, the better the result will be.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top