Why is my baby very restless when he sleeps?
All children have natural brief awakenings in the night as they journey through sleep. If you are watching your baby sleep, you may notice him change position – if he is old enough he may sit up, rub his eyes, and then settle down again. This happens many times during the night. It is not unusual for babies to complete several circuits around their crib! Active toddlers moving into a bed for the first time may fall out until they learn the boundaries of their new sleep space. This is quite normal. To prevent injury, be sure to use bed guardrails.
Sometimes restlessness at night can indicate a problem. If your baby is uncomfortable, for example, too hot, too cold, or itchy from eczema, this may result in disturbed and restless sleep. Some sleep disorders can also cause disrupted sleep. Restless legs syndrome causes frequent leg movements at night and sleep apnea may cause a child to wake up – you might suspect this if your child snores and gasps in their sleep.
If you are concerned about either of these things, check with your child’s health care provider. If your baby’s restlessness at night – regardless of cause- means he wakes unrefreshed and is grumpy and tired in the day, get this checked out with your health care provider. However, if your baby wakes happily from sleep in the morning and seems refreshed it is likely that his night-time sleep is perfectly normal.About Dr. Catherine Hill