Well, if you are a new parent, you would know the problem now. What the other parents are experiencing for a while. The problem where your little one fights sleep. But the ultimate question is, why do babies fight sleep?

At one point or another, all babies fight sleep. They find it difficult to settle down and keep their eyes closed. This happens even when you know they require sleep. But what is the reason behind this?

What causes babies to fight sleep?  

What causes babies to fight sleep

If you know why your baby is refusing to sleep, that might help you sort the problem out. Ths will help you find a solution to the problem and get them their much-needed sleep. So, let’s check why babies fight sleep.


When you are exhausted, it is likely that you will fall asleep immediately. But that is not the case with babies. It does not work the usual way with babies. Mostly, they follow a window, which is their usual time to fall asleep. They find it difficult to settle down when you get past that window, and they are overtired and irritated.

Not tired enough  

On the other hand, when they are not tired enough, they get fussy when you forcefully try to get them to sleep. This could be something completely random, like if they slept longer than usual during the day or had a great nap, they might refuse to fall asleep. This could be a part of their growth and development, and their sleep schedule is changing, perhaps.


Has anyone ever told you that you should avoid screen time before going to bed for at least an hour? This helps you sleep better. Well, this is also similar for babies. But it is not just about screen time for them. Any loud noise, noisy toys, or any form of exciting game can overwhelm them and make them restless before they go to bed.

Separation anxiety  

Do you always keep your little one close to you? Are they like your shadow? Do they always wait to be held and like being close to you? If that is the case, then it could be separation anxiety, which likely comes during their sleep time as well.

This happens mostly when the baby is 8-18 months old. They fight sleep because they don’t want you to leave their side or your baby won’t sleep untill held.

Circadian rhythm  

Infants start developing their circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle that is responsible for regulating our bodies from the time they are 6 weeks old. These rhythms are mature enough to establish a real sleep schedule from the time they are 3 to 6 months old. But every baby is different. So, not everyone manages to form a true sleep schedule by that exact timeline.


In the first few years, your little one is high on growth. By the time a baby celebrates their first birthday, they triple the weight they were born with. But this growth depends a lot on nourishment.

Keep track of whether you are feeding your baby properly, along with the required number of feedings they require. This mostly depends on the age of the baby. And also on how much they eat in one feeding and whether they are drinking breastmilk or being bottle-fed.


Sometimes, when they are not comfortable because of any illness, they fight sleep. Check for any symptoms of a cold or ear infection. Those have a way of making them uncomfortable and disrupting their sleep.

What can you do when your baby fights sleep?  

What can you do when your baby fights sleep

The next steps that you should take mostly depend on the reason why they are not sleeping. However, the tips mentioned below can be used to create a positive sleep environment, regardless of the challenges.

  • Learn the sleep cues your baby is trying to send you. Look at the signs and figure out when they are tired and put them to sleep the moment you find them rubbing their eyes, avoiding eye contact, yawning, not interested in playing anymore or fussing around; that is your cue. For some babies, the sleeping time is just 35-40 minutes.
  • Make a soothing bedtime ritual, and try to follow that irrespective of the surroundings. Cuddle with them in a cozy chair, get them a warm bath, read them a book, or do anything that helps them calm down. These are some of the ways that help ease an uncomfortable baby. Be consistent with the routine and follow it every night.
  • Establishing some day-night behaviors is important. Play with them during the day, get them out in the sunlight, and have a fun, outdoorsy afternoon with them. But make the nights a little less active and try to sedate them through the activities.

Make a schedule and watch your reaction  

  • Do not engage in physical play, screen time, and loud noises before they get to bed.
  • Form a sleep and nap schedule depending on your as well as the baby’s lifestyle. Keep track of their complete sleep needs and make sure that they get ample chance to sleep during the day as well as the night.
  • Make sure that you are feeding your baby enough in the 24-hour span. Newborns are mostly fed every 2 to 3 hours or according to their needs. As they start growing, the time between every feed increases.
  • Ensure that the sleeping space is conductive. Make use of elements that promote a restful environment, like white noise or blackout curtains.
  • Do not panic, and deal with your baby patiently. Respond to their sleep challenges with calmness. They look up to your emotions for responding, so if you stay relaxed, it will help them calm down easily.

Wrapping up!  

The sleeping needs of a baby depend on a lot of things. It depends on their personality, age, development, and more. But why do babies fight sleep? I hope the section above has got you the required answers.So, if you find that it is becoming extremely difficult to put them down to sleep, then consult their pediatrician; they might find a solution to it or figure out the exact reason why they are fighting sleep.


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subhasree nag
Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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