Why Do Babies Cry in Their Sleep and How to Manage It

Why Do Babies Cry in Their Sleep and How to Manage It

why do babies cry in their sleep

Why do babies cry in their sleep is a common question because of how often it happens.

Some might think that it’s their baby having a nightmare while others could assume something far worse.

With the help of Baby Sleep Miracle, finding solutions to nighttime crying is easier than you’d think.

In this guide, we'll explore the main reasons why your baby could be crying in their sleep and provide tips to help you know what you might do about it.

Why Do Babies Cry in Their Sleep?

There are many reasons your baby could cry in their sleep, which can make it difficult to pinpoint.

Fortunately, you can counter most of them by a couple of easy steps that you can do on your own.

Others simply cannot be addressed, and the most you can do is be there for your child if needed.

1. Communication

The simplest and most common explanation for babies crying in their sleep is communication.

If you think about your day-to-day, your baby doesn’t know how to talk or motion to things they want.

Instead, they use their cries to let you know what it is they’re lacking.

As you begin to get to know your baby more, you’ll differentiate their cries. For example, parents can tell between a hungry cry and a tired cry.

If you think your baby is crying solely as a communicative effort, it’s essential to rule out other causes.

As long as they don’t show any signs of discomfort or illness, they’re likely just letting you know they’re awake.

It’s common for babies to cry when they’re hungry, as most people are when they wake up.

Rest assured that crying while asleep is frequently seen as a universal developmental factor, and you shouldn’t be worried.

2. Changing Sleep Cycles

The majority of reasons babies cry in their sleep have a lot to do with sleep regression.

Typically, after babies have reached their four-month sleep regression, their sleep cycles need to change.

When babies switch their sleep cycles, they are very likely to wake up and cry before falling asleep again.

The easiest way to determine if they need soothing or falling back asleep is to time the crying.

While switching cycles, babies are likely to cry anywhere between five and ten minutes, sometimes less.

If you notice they have gone back to sleep without any problems, there’s no need to be concerned.

3. Being Overtired

If your baby is crying because they’re overtired, you’re most likely to see it before putting them down.

However, babies can be tricky, especially if yours shows exceptional curiosity and the desire to learn.

Sometimes, you put your baby to bed, and they’ll be silent for a moment, allowing you to assume they’re asleep.

Then suddenly, they might “awaken” with a cry, although they were never genuinely asleep in the first place.

Overtired babies tend to show exceptional bursts of energy, but many are also cranky.

If you’ve recently put your baby down and appear to be otherwise happy, it could only be from lack of sleep.

A great way to counter their exhaustion is to adjust their sleeping schedule day-to-day.

Depending on when they wake up, you can choose the best times for naps and bedtime.

With this process, you can guarantee they’re getting more than enough sleep for their age.

4. Fevers and Illnesses

One of the more severe things to consider is whether they have any illnesses or a sign of a high temperature causing their crying.

The fever could be a result of developmental change, such as teething, or something more serious.

Parents likely have a clear idea of when their baby is entering their teething phase, and it’s likely to disrupt their sleep.

The best advice to take is to talk to your doctor to determine the appropriate steps for dealing with their fever.

You will also need to consult your doctor if your baby is dealing with an illness to ensure they get treated quickly.

5. Sleep Associations

The way that you put your baby to sleep will have a significant bearing on whether they sleep through the night.

When they associate certain things with sleep, they will need those associations to keep them asleep.

For example, parents who rock their toddlers to bed will find they’ll need to rock them back to sleep if they awaken.

That is why it is imperative to establish healthy routines before bedtime to limit your baby’s sleep associations.

Some parents might find their baby cries if their pacifier falls out of their mouth, while others might need bouncing.

All in all, babies with sleep associations will cry for you to do something for them to help them fall back asleep.

It’s best to use resources like Baby Sleep Miracle to establish healthier routines.

The intuitive steps in the guide are essential for parents who need extra help with healthier sleep patterns.

why do babies cry in their sleep

6. Night Terrors

It’s important to note that night terrors and nightmares can be seen as two different things in children.

Nightmares typically occur during the lighter sleep phases, while night terrors happen in the deeper stages.

When an infant or child is disturbed in their deep sleep phase, they are prone to agitation and night terrors that result in crying.

Night terrors aren’t common in newborns and are most likely to be experienced between four and 12 years of age.

There’s also lacking evidence to suggest that babies can dream, let alone have nightmares.

How to Help Babies Who Cry in Their Sleep

Luckily, you’re not entirely helpless when finding a solution for babies who cry in their sleep.

Below are some of the most common solutions for you to put to good use.

1. Establishing Routines

Any research you do into bettering your child’s sleep will have a lot to do with routines.

Babies thrive on having consistency, especially when it comes time for naps and nighttime rest.

By establishing thorough routines that help them wind down before sleep, they’ll have a more peaceful experience.

Another advantage of routines is that they can also help you get enough sleep at night.

The last thing any parent wants is to be just as exhausted as their baby during the day.

Ensuring you do everything you can so everyone in your household is well-rested can be quite beneficial.

2. Using the Baby Sleep Miracle

New and experienced parents alike can always benefit from professional and real-world advice.

Baby Sleep Miracle is a thorough resource for any parent interested in establishing better sleep routines.

By learning what steps to avoid, you can make the most out of your baby’s sleep.

The comprehensive eBook is essential for teaching you the ins and outs of your baby’s sleep process.

From establishing schedules to knowing whether self-soothing is healthy, the tips are endless.

There is also a seven-step program to go through to help establish beneficial bedtime routines.

Baby Sleep Miracle is a highly adaptive program, too, for all types of parents.

If you need science-based evidence or tested tricks, you can find everything you need.

A clinical psychologist developed the entire program with 20 years of experience.

Above all else, it’s written by a mother who has gone through raising two children.

You’ll take advantage of the advice that she provides in a compassionate and supportive nature.

Fortunately, this universal guide is highly applicable through all stages of your children’s lives.

Even if you believe you are the most experienced parent, having these professional guides is essential.

Since every child is different, you will need to adapt to their individual needs. Baby Sleep Miracle has something for everyone.

3. Adjusting Their Sleeping Environment

It’s essential to take a look at your baby’s environment when they’re sleeping.

You’ll want to make sure it’s as peaceful as possible, as your bedroom would be.

Checking things such as the temperature, amount of light, and sleeping arrangements can give you an idea of any improvements.

You can even find some special equipment to help make their nursery as comfortable as possible, such as sleep trainers.

Another vital tip for adjusting their sleeping environment is to make sure they don’t have any distractions.

Especially if your baby is curious, having toys, mobiles, and items with flashing lights can be a sleep deterrent.

However, you won’t want to make their bedroom utterly void of sound since this can also be disadvantageous.

Babies need to be around moderate noise while asleep so that they won’t be light sleepers.

A phenomenal alternative to a radio or TV is to opt for a white noise machine.

White noise machines provide a gentle ambiance that is loud enough to prevent sleeping lightly.

But it’s not too loud to where your baby will feel uncomfortable.

There are numerous ways you can improve their nursery for a more comfortable night’s rest.

Reasons and Solutions to Sleep Crying

There are many ways to answer, why do babies cry in their sleep?

From general communication to fevers, babies cry for an incredible number of reasons.

With the help of resources and tools like Baby Sleep Miracle and white noise machines, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of nighttime crying.


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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