Why Does My Baby Have Difficulty Sleeping?

Babies who have trouble sleeping and fussy are always a concern for parents. The quality of sleep is not guaranteed to adversely affect the development of children, especially in the early stages of life. So, what is the reason that makes it difficult for children to sleep and cry? Mother and doctor find out soon.

The importance of sleep for babies

Sleep plays a very important role not only for babies but for all of us in general. The time for brain development is when the body falls asleep. Developmental process in newborns takes place during sleep through growth hormone.

During the first 3 years of life, up to 80% of brain cells are created. The production of these cells is closely related to the quality of sleep and sleep time of the child. Not only helps children develop physically, sleep also plays a role in intellectual development, because the information they receive during the day will be processed by the brain during sleep.

Sleep is important, but not all babies have good sleep from birth. Many children suffer from sleep disorders such as difficulty sleeping, not sleeping deeply, or fussing, easily startled, etc.This condition will gradually reduce learning ability, memory loss, even is leading to emotional disorders, behavioral disorders when children grow up.

Therefore, except for force majeure circumstances, parents should create conditions for children to get enough sleep and have good sleep. According to experts’ advice, the average newborn should sleep between 18-20 hours a day. Each child will have a different sleep time, maybe from 30 – 180 minutes or up to 5-10 hours.

What are the reasons babies have trouble sleeping?

Infant sleep disorders can result from a variety of causes, such as physiological, pathological, or lifestyle-related causes.

Physiological causes

Human sleep is divided into two phases: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and Non-REM (Non Rapid Eye Movement). Usually in adults, 75% of the sleep time is Non-REM and the remaining 25% is REM sleep. Meanwhile, in children, the REM stage accounts for 50% of sleep time.

In REM stage, the baby’s breathing and heart rate are usually faster because at this time the brain and respiratory organs increase activity even though the child is sleeping. Therefore, babies often have trouble sleeping and are very startled, waking up when they have an outside impact.

Babies who have trouble sleeping can also sometimes get too full or not enough. As children get older, daytime movement increases because they know how to crawl, walk, etc. also makes it difficult for them to fall asleep.

Pathological reasons

Babies who have trouble sleeping can be a sign of some conditions like:

Lack of calcium, rickets

This is considered one of the leading causes of babies’ difficulty sleeping. The lack of micronutrients such as zinc, magnesium or iron causes children to suffer from sleep disorders. In particular, restless leg syndrome is often seen in iron-deficient children, which makes them tired and sleepy, so it is difficult to sleep deeply at night.

Infections of the respiratory tract or nasopharynx

Such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, … Children with one of these conditions often have difficulty opening and breathing through the mouth, snoring makes it difficult for children to sleep.

Internal medical conditions

Sleep can be affected by medical conditions such as otitis media, gastroesophageal reflux disease or mental illness.

Sleep walking

Characterized by this condition, children often have nightmares and may wake up, walk, talk while they are sleeping. This type of sleep disorder causes babies to twitch, fuss, and sleep without sleep.


The airway muscle groups in these children often have hypertrophy, making it difficult for them to breathe or swallow. Therefore, children often have to breathe through the mouth so it is difficult to fall asleep.

The cause is related to the living regime

In addition to the two groups of causes mentioned above, an unreasonable lifestyle can also make babies difficult to sleep, or fussy especially at night.

Newborn babies who are used to being held in a cradle or cradled by their parents when sleeping. Therefore, if there is no support equipment such as a cot or if not held, the baby will not be able to sleep.

The child’s sleep time is not reasonable, daytime if the baby’s sleep is too long, it will make it difficult for babies to sleep at night.

The baby’s bedroom is too noisy or too light is also the reason that makes it difficult for babies to sleep and wake up easily.

Due to unclean sanitary conditions such as wet diapers, bedding, unclean clothes makes children feel uncomfortable and itchy.

How to overcome the problem of newborns having trouble sleeping?

To overcome neonatal sleeplessness, parents can refer to a few ways:

Establish a reasonable circadian rhythm for children by maintaining sleep time and wake up regularly every day.

Practice good bedtime routines like clean personal hygiene, spacious and airy clothes.

Can help children sleep well by bringing their favorite things to sleep like teddy bears to create a sense of security.

Before going to bed, do not let children exercise too much.

When lying down, children should not be fed.

Limit the abuse of assistive devices such as electric cradles, hammocks, etc. to avoid making children depend on them.

Before bedtime, children should not use drugs that have a stimulating effect on nerves.

Babies who have trouble sleeping may not be so strange to parents. Not only creates anxiety, stress for parents, sleep disorders also directly affect the development of children.

Therefore, if children often have problems sleeping, parents can take children to hospital for advice and examination by experts. Here, based on the results of the diagnosis, the doctor will have treatments for each specific case to bring the best effect.