How To Read Your Baby’s Sleepy Cues

If you have a little one, you’ve certainly heard of sleepy cues but you also might be a little confused because not all sleepy cues mean the same thing. Let’s talk about how to read your baby’s sleepy cues and why they matter! Here we go!

Early Sleepy Cues: Start My Sleep Routine, Please!

When you start seeing these early sleepy cues then you know it’s time to head to the bedroom and begin the sleep routine. By attuning to your baby and noticing these early cues, you’re much more likely to hit your little one’s sleep ‘sweet spot’. They will be able to fall asleep and connect sleep cycles much more easily.

Think about the last time you started to become tired. These cues aren’t much different than what happens in our adult bodies when we begin to become sleepy. We also become a bit withdrawn, calmer and less interested in what’s going on around us.

Late Sleep Cues: I Need Sleep ASAP!

When you start seeing these cues, it means your babe is heading into being overtired or possibly already there. Do a quick version of the bedtime routine and get them down. When babies get overtired their body sends out a rush of hormones which makes it much more difficult to fall asleep and connect sleep cycles.

Changes in baby’s eyes, even subtle, is a HUGE indication of sleepiness. Really pay attention to their eyes and try to get baby down before these changes. Watch for rubbing eyes, glazed eyes, pink/red skin around the eyes, drooping eyelids and long blinks.

For preschoolers and older children (especially if they don’t nap), hyperactive behavior is a big sleepy cue. Observe their behavior in the late afternoon and evening time around 4-5 pm. If they’re very hyper, easily upset or clingy, then bring bedtime earlier by 30-60 minutes.

If you missed the early cues and your little one is already overtired, it’s ok. Give yourself grace. Learning how to read your baby’s sleepy cues takes time and every baby is different. If you think they might be getting tired but haven’t noticed any cues yet, try taking them into a calmer space and observing their behavior. More often than not, being in the quieter environment makes it easier to notice baby’s sleepy cues.


If you want more support with helping your baby develop a healthy sleep foundation schedule a complimentary 15-minute Intro Call here so we can chat! I work with newborns all the way to children 10 years old!



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