There are a variety of reasons why babies wake in the night, it is not uncommon. The majority of the time they tend to be temporary issues such as growth spurts or teething. However, when waking in the night becomes a common occurrence across a longer period of time there may be another reason why it is happening. There are a few standard things that are done before putting your baby to sleep such as making sure they have been changed and fed but there may be other things which contribute to their lack of sleep. We’ve put together a list of five of the most common reasons why babies wake up in the night.
They are Hungry
Like most other people, babies struggle to sleep if they are hungry. Trying to fall asleep whilst experiencing hunger pains is extremely difficult so it is no surprise that babies wake up throughout the night if they are hungry. The younger your baby is the more often they require feeding therefore it is not unusual for them to wake in the night, hungry. This problem should improve as they get older and move onto solid foods as they can have more balanced meals throughout the day.
Struggling to sleep due to being overtired is a common problem among adults too. It is not uncommon to find yourself struggling to get through the day but then feeling energised at bedtime. The same goes for babies; if they’re overtired it makes it difficult for them to settle and fall asleep.
They’re in pain or discomfort
This is a common problem especially when babies are teething or experiencing growth spurts. Being in pain would prevent anyone from dropping off at night and it is no different for babies. This includes things like earaches or infections, an upset stomach or just being uncomfortable. Babies wake up if they are too hot or cold or generally feeling uncomfortable; maybe in their clothing, nappy or cot itself. Ensuring that they are dressed properly, have a clean nappy and good quality mattress are all steps you can take to minimize any discomfort they may be experiencing.
They can’t self soothe
Self-soothing differs from baby to baby. Some are born being able to naturally self-soothe whereas others are used to being rocked to sleep so don’t have the ability to do it themselves. It is tempting to get up and soothe babies back to sleep as soon as they wake but sometimes if you give them a few minutes they can learn to go back to sleep on their own.
It is part of the sleep cycle
Throughout the night we all experience different stages of sleep, we shift from REM sleep to non-REM sleep at different stages in the night. Generally, this transition causes us to wake up, as adults we fall back asleep so quick that we tend not to remember this awaking, although it does happen 4-5 time per night. For babies, it is not as easy to fall back asleep so this transition stage in the sleep cycle causes them to fully wake up during the night; often not being able to get back to sleep.