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  • Danielle Elwell

Another Day, Another Sleep Battle

Overtired-ness is one of the most common causes of problematic sleep behaviors, but sometimes the signs are not always easy to spot. If you’re finding yourself dreading another bedtime, waking with the sun more often than not, or crossing your fingers that today is the day your little one will nap; your child may be overtired.


When children become overtired, their bodies begin producing cortisol, a hormone designed to keep the body awake. Once this happens, sleep is not going to come easy because their body is fighting (hard) to keep them awake. The longer this goes on the more tired your child becomes & it can quickly become exhausting for parents as well.


Here are 5 common signs to look for in overtired children:


1. Frequent Early Morning Waking (earlier than 6am)


2. Frequently Waking Through the Night


3. Taking Shorter Naps


4. Late Afternoon & Early Evening Crankiness or Hyperactivity


5. Taking Longer than 15 Minutes to Fall Asleep



So, what can you do to help?

1. Temporary Early Bedtime.

When children become too tired, they become more energetic. The best way for overtired kids to catch up on sleep is to temporarily move bedtime earlier. This could be as early as 5:30pm or 6:00pm. Your goal is to catch them before they enter the energetic zone (before the body produces cortisol), so they have an easier time falling asleep. This is only temporary, until they have caught up on some sleep. The more sleep your child gets, the more sleep they will want!


2. Set a morning “okay to wake” time.

Normal wake up times for little ones is generally between 6:00am – 7:00am. Set a time that works for your family and do not get them out of bed any earlier than that time. The more consistent you are the easier & more quickly your little one will adjust to sleeping until their set “okay to wake” time.

3. Be consistent & have patience.

Breaking current sleep habits takes time. Consistent routines & schedules bring children a sense of control and security. Your child will learn quickly when you are very clear with expectations. Be patient & stay consistent.

Sometimes a little extra support can go a long way & that’s exactly why I am here! Contact me to schedule a call so we can get your family back to feeling well rested.