Babies are known for sleeping. And not doing much else besides that. But what about when babies don't get enough sleep? Something so vital for their growth and development isn't always easy to make up. Watching out for the ways your baby is trying to tell you they're not getting enough sleep can save you from a sleep deprived baby, which, believe it or not, is even more exhausting than a rested one.
Sleep deprivation in babies and children isn't common, but it can have some negative side-effects when it does happen. In very rare cases, a baby can develop a chronic sleep disorder which can lead to ADHD and even depression, according to the Baby Sleep Site. However, the vast majority of babies, sleep deprivation is simply the cause of a schedule change or growth spurt and can be made up with a little intentional effort.
It's difficult enough when you're sleep deprived — and when are you not, really? — you don't need a sleepless baby on your hands as well. If you suspect your little one isn't getting enough Zs, pay attention to these subtle ways that they may be telling you they're overtired.
1. They Seem Disinterested In The Morning
According to The National Sleep Foundation (NSF,) grogginess in the morning is a sign that your baby may not have gotten enough sleep the night before.
2. They're Constantly Rubbing Their Eyes
Rubbing the eyes is a habit that starts very young in babies and always means that they're getting tired. However, according to the NSF, if it's a constant habit (much like incessant yawning,) your baby probably needs some more sleep.
3. They're Difficult To Awaken
Although sleeping at all seems to be a good sign that your baby will be rested, if your baby is sleeping longer than expected or is hard to wake up after naps or in the morning, let them rest longer. If they've eaten recently and don't have a dirty diaper, there's no sense in waking them, Healthy Children noted. Chances are they need the extra rest.
4. They've Recently Had A Schedule Change
Vacations, growth spurts, teething, time changes — there are so many things that mess with a baby's sleep schedule. If your baby has went through one or more "schedule shifts" recently, Baby Center suggested that they may need to sleep a bit extra to make up for lost time.
5. They Sleep In Very Short Stretches
Frequent waking at night can lead to sleep deprivation in the morning. Even if your baby slept for 12 hours — waking every few hours — they may still be tired. The NSF noted that each baby needs a different amount of sleep, but ensuring they get the minimum recommendation for their age group each night is vital to their health.