Why do babies fight sleep?

Sleep is an essential part of a baby’s development and necessary for healthy growth. Sadly, it can often be difficult to get a baby to sleep. Babies fight sleep for a variety of reasons, from over-stimulation to developmental milestones to hunger and thirst. It is necessary to recognize why babies fight sleep and how to help them get the rest they need.

Exploring the Science

First, it is important to understand the different stages of infant sleep. Babies typically go through four stages of sleep: active sleep, quiet sleep, drowsiness, and rapid eye movement (REM). Each stage of sleep has its own distinct characteristics and helps babies to achieve different developmental goals. For example, during active sleep, babies are more easily aroused and can more easily learn new information.

Besides the stages of infant sleep, there are also several factors that can contribute to a baby’s difficulty in settling down. These include environmental interruptions, physiological disorders, and behavioral disruptions.

Environmental interruptions can include noise, temperature, and light levels, which can all be disruptive to a baby’s sleep. Physiological disorders can include hunger, illness, or discomfort, which can also disrupt a baby’s sleep. Finally, behavioral disturbances can include a baby’s limited ability to self-soothe, which can make it difficult for them to settle down.

Understanding the science behind baby sleep struggles is essential in order to help babies settle down and get a good night’s sleep. By recognizing the different stages of sleep, identifying environmental and physiological disturbances, and encouraging positive sleep habits, parents can help their babies settle down and get the rest they need.

baby fighting sleep

Essential Bedtime Routines

Babies have difficulty self-regulating their bodies, meaning they may struggle to wind down and relax in the evening. They can become overstimulated easily, leading to difficulty settling down.

Babies may deal with teething pain or discomfort from illness, both of which can interfere with sleep. To make bedtime easier, it is essential to create a consistent bedtime routine for your baby. This should include dimming the lights, playing soothing music, and providing a safe and comfortable sleeping environment.

It is also important to give your baby plenty of cuddle time, as this can help to create a sense of security and comfort. Ensure that your baby has had enough to eat and drink for the day, and limit screen time before bed.

Finally, it is important to be consistent with bedtime expectations. This means that you should stick to the same bedtime each night and remain consistent in your approach to settling your baby.

Creative Solutions

Here are some creative solutions for helping babies get the rest they need:

  1. Create a consistent sleep environment: Babies thrive on consistency and routine. Creating a consistent sleep environment helps babies learn to soothe themselves and fall asleep more easily. Keep the temperature comfortable and the room dark, and use a white noise machine to block out any outside noise.
  2. Establish a bedtime routine: Establishing a bedtime routine can help signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. This could include a gentle massage, a warm bath, and a quiet story.
  3. Introduce a "lovey": A lovey is an item of comfort, such as a special blanket or stuffed animal, that your baby can hold while they fall asleep. This can help them self-soothe and feel secure enough to drift off to sleep.
  4. Rock your baby to sleep: One of the best solutions to baby sleep struggles is rocking your baby to sleep. This could involve holding your baby in your arms or using a baby swing. The gentle rocking motion can help relax your baby and signal to them it’s time for sleep.
  5. Take breaks during the day: Taking breaks during the day can help your baby get the rest they need at night. Take regular naps with your baby throughout the day, and avoid ever-stimulating activities like playing with toys or watching TV.

These are just a few creative solutions for dealing with why babies fight sleep. By creating a consistent sleep environment, establishing a bedtime routine, introducing a lovey, rocking your baby to sleep, and taking breaks during the day, you can help your baby get the rest they need.


Babies fight sleep because they are biologically wired to stay awake and explore the world around them. During the day, they’re learning and growing, and they don’t want to miss out on anything. They may be overstimulated, overtired, or uncomfortable, which can lead to difficulty settling down and falling asleep. With patience, understanding, and consistency, parents can help their babies learn how to sleep well and get the rest they need.