It's a pretty universal fact that infants tend to cause sleep problems for their parents. But, unfortunately, babies can also suffer from the aftereffects of too little shut-eye. If your child is sleeping well at night, but still seems groggy, then you may want to keep an eye out for the signs your baby isn't napping enough.
Sure, cranky adults can be difficult to work with, but an overtired infant is a whole other ball game. That's why it's a good idea to recognize the early signs of infant fatigue before they become a huge problem. When the under-one set fails to get enough sleep, the results are not pretty.
That said, how much nap time should your baby get per day? According to What to Expect, babies 6 months and younger nap around three to five hours a day, whereas babies ages 6 months to 1 year may need three to four hours of nap time per day. Granted, this timeline is somewhat flexible, depending on how well your baby sleeps through the night. But in general, babies require a few solid hours of power napping to feel their best. So if your little one starts displaying these signs, it may be time to get some extra daytime shut-eye.
1. They Are Cranky
Granted, most parents don't need an expert to point this out. But according to the Sleep Foundation, babies who are cranky (particularly in the late afternoon) may be in dire need of more nap time. Do everyone a favor and see if your little one will conk out for longer.
2. They Are Clingy
This reaction kind of works against your baby's best interest. As noted by the Baby Sleep Site, infants who are overtired sometimes get super clingy, refusing to be put down for a nap. This, in turn, just makes them more exhausted.
3. They Are Hyperactive
It's one of life's mysteries: super tired children often get these enviable bursts of energy. If your little one gets hyperactive, then she may be simply be overtired, as noted on Baby Sleep 101. That giddy energy could just be the spike before the crash.
4. They Wake Up Frequently
Is a short nap better than no nap at all? Parents have pondered this question for generations, or at least as long as infants have been able to spring awake after a half-hour snooze. Although this may seem like a sign your baby wants to be awake more often, the opposite is often true. As noted by Precious Little Sleep, infants who are chronic cat-nappers may actually do so because they've been kept awake too long. Experiment with more frequent nap times to see if this helps out your little one.
5. They Whine
Can babies whine before they're even able to talk? Oh, yes. Some forms of communication just seem to come preprogrammed. Whining may point to an overtired baby, according to Baby Care Advice. And that sound can burrow straight into the center of your head.
6. The Show A Lack Of Interest
Most babies are fascinated by the new sights and sounds of their world. But when an infant is super sleepy, then he may seem pretty bored, according to Parenting Science. If your baby is normally dazzled by picture books or light-up toys, then he may have nothing to do with them when he's fatigued.
7. The Struggle To Waking Up
Any person who's dealt with sleep troubles can related to this scenario: you spend all night tossing and turning, only to fall asleep five minutes before the alarm goes off. But by that point, you're in such deep sleep that it's almost impossible to wake up again. Likewise, if your baby is difficult to wake up, then he may be sleep-deprived, as noted by Parenting Science. When you're that exhausted, anything that tries to wake you is automatically the worst.
8. They Refuse To Eat
Fatigue can affect your appetite. Although adults may plunge headlong into a bag of chips, babies can have the opposite reaction. So if your little one refuses to feed during the daytime, then she could be in need of more naps, as explained by Baby Care Advice. Your feeding issues may not have anything to do with food.
9. They Yawn
Well, this one is kind of obvious. But if your baby is constantly yawning during the day, then he may need extra nap time. This may be the most straightforward sign of all.
10. They Fall Asleep During Car Rides
Granted, plenty of babies get lulled to sleep by the motion of your car. But these inadvertent naps may be a sign the your baby is in need of more sleep. What's more, it is not a good idea for your baby to sleep in a car seat for an extended period of time, as noted by What to Expect. Car rides may not be the nap hack of your dreams.
11. They Snore
Sure, it's pretty cute. But if your infant regularly snores, then this may mean your baby is not getting enough restful sleep, as noted by Sleep For Kids. You may want to check in with your pediatrician for more advice.