Why do babies and babies cry in their sleep?


Sometimes parents are surprised to note that their newborn baby or infant can cry even in a dream. Without waking up, the kids whimper and scream, shudder, wake up and fall asleep again. Fearing the worst, parents begin to look for an answer to a question about such behavior in medical reference books and to be interested in the opinion of children's doctors. However, there is no reason to worry. About why a child cries in a dream, we will tell in this article.

The reasons for night crying

The spontaneous crying of babies in a dream is called physiological night crying. About the disease, he rarely testifies. Usually this behavior of the child is connected with the abundance of new impressions received during the day. Newborns and babies do not know how to express their emotions otherwise; they cannot tell, complain, ask for help. The only communication tool available to them is loud crying.

The nervous system and motor functions of the baby are not yet sufficiently developed. Any change in impulses passing through a complex system of nerve plexuses can cause crying. In a night orach in a dream, most often these are the reasons - the peculiarities of the infant's nervous organization. Nothing dangerous, terrible, alarming about it.

As the baby grows, its nervous system will grow stronger, the perception will develop. He will learn to express his emotions - with a smile, facial expressions, gestures, and then with words. Attacks of sudden night crying will stop. Another likely cause of physiological crying in a dream - transition from fast to sleep phase. Even in adults, such a transition can be accompanied by the appearance of vivid dreams and an involuntary awakening, what to speak of babies!

Yes, they also have dreams, and, according to pediatricians, babies dream in their womb. Anxious and restless sleep a baby can become after daytime impressions.

If there were a lot of guests in the house, if the child was given a lot of attention, if he was tired before bedtime, then with a high degree of probability his sleep would be very restless.

Psychologists point out another possible cause of a night roar in a dream - the child’s psychological need for protection. In the nine months spent in the womb, the crumb used to feel protected, surrounded by mom. After the birth of this feeling of reliable protection somewhat shaken, because my mother is now not always close, and sometimes she has to call loudly.

Short-term night crying, sobbing can be a kind of "test" of parents - are they in place, are they near? If mom is running, then the baby can calmly fall asleep further. That is why it is most convenient to place a cot in an adult bedroom in the first few months. Sometimes the baby is enough to stroke in the sleep on the back, and he calms down and quietly falls asleep again.

Normal physiological night crying is not long, heart-rending, loud, persistent. It is more spontaneous, not repeated at the same time. In the use of sedatives and examination, he does not need. If a child wakes up and begins to cry demandingly or sharply in a dream, then it is worth considering other reasons for such behavior.

When does a child need help?

A baby may whimper and scream in a dream not only because of the age characteristics of the nervous system, but also in a number of other ways. external and internal causes that necessarily need parental intervention.


Newborns and infants until about 6 months experience a physiological need for night feeding, or even more than one. Therefore, the awakening and the insistent demand for food is quite normal until a certain age. Such crying is persistent.

A child who has woken up from hunger will not calm down and will not fall asleep again until he gets what he needs. The solution is simple - feed and bed again.

The discomfort

Inconvenient bed, tight swaddling, annoying clothes - all these are reasons for a night awakening and a demand to change circumstances. In this case, the awakening will be blurred, gradual. First, the baby will begin to whimper in a dream, to push, "mess around." Gradually crying will become more assertive.

By itself, the crumb will not calm down. It is necessary to check whether the seams of clothes are rubbed on him, if his hands are numb in a diaper, which is tightly wrapped, whether there are protrusions, dimples, uncomfortable folds on the mattress.

The issue of swaddling is a matter of family choice. But the clothes should be necessarily seamless and sewn from natural fabrics that do not irritate the skin. Ideally, the child should sleep on a hard mattress without a pillow.

Unsuitable temperature and humidity

A gradual and smooth wake-up transition from a sleepy whine to a loud cry may indicate that the child is hot or cold. It’s easy to check - if the baby’s nape is sweaty, it means that the parents have overdone it with heating the room, if the pens and nose are cold, then the toddler has frozen.

In order for the baby to sleep comfortably, it is necessary to maintain a certain temperature - not higher than 20-21 degrees of heat and a certain humidity of the air - 50-70%. 20 degrees on a room thermometer may seem too cool for adults. Children have different thermoregulation, they feel very comfortable at this temperature.

And too dry air leads to drying out of the mucous membranes of the respiratory organs, as a result, the baby not only becomes harder to breathe, but also increases the risk of respiratory diseases.

Wet diaper

The pledge of a good night's sleep is a good and high-quality diaper, which will “withstand” at least 8 hours. However, the excretory abilities of the crumbs are different, besides, the baby can go to the toilet for great need.

Awakening and crying in the case of a wet or dirty diaper usually do not occur more than once per night. Make sure that the diaper was not only dry, but also comfortable, did not press in the sides and folds of the skin, did not hang out and did not rub the baby’s skin.


Crying when feeling pain is difficult to confuse with another. The pain in children is associated with a cry at the level of the reflex. With acute pain, the baby begins to scream heart-rendingly and abruptly, immediately wakes up, it's hard to calm him down. It happens, for example, with otitis, with intestinal colic.

If the pain is dull or dull in nature, the child as a whole does not sleep well, wakes up almost every hour, cries plaintively, protractively, sometimes monotonously, sometimes not waking up to the end. This happens when teething first teeth, with increased intracranial pressure, which causes a headache.

How to improve the sleep of a child?

Physiological night crying usually disappears on its own when an infant reaches the age of 4 months. The nervous system of five-month-old babies is already more stable, although severe exhaustion can also cause sleep disorders in them.

To improve baby's sleep from 1 month and older, remember that The mode of the day for the crumbs is very important. During the day, the baby should spend enough time in the fresh air. All new experiences, games and dating should be shifted to the first half of the day. In the evening, the child should not communicate with a large number of strangers. Benefit will be a muffled light, quiet voices, tonic massage before bathing.

If the baby doesn’t sleep well, parents can try bathing in cool water according to the method of Dr. Evgeny Komarovsky.

Can't overfeed babyas this is also a common cause of restless sleep at night. In the penultimate evening feeding, it is better that the child does not get enough fill, but in the last one, which completes all evening procedures, you need to feed the child plenty, but not excessively. In a ventilated room with humidified air, a clean and fed baby will sleep much stronger.

Another reason why a baby can sleep badly at night is excessive daytime sleep. The newborn normally sleeps up to 20 hours a day. It is necessary to create a regime in such a way that it takes at least 12-13 hours to sleep at night. The rest of the time can be fractionally divided into daily rest. If you can not establish a regime, you should not give the child to sleep during the day. Usually, 2-3 days of such strong and tough behavior of adults is enough for the regime to fall into place, and the baby begins to sleep at night.

Other reasons for crying at night are also fairly easy to deal with - you have to feed a hungry baby, and a raw one needs to change clothes. It is most difficult to help a child with a painful night cry, because it is difficult to understand what kind of pain it is. A small cheat sheet will help parents with this:

  • The child is screaming and constantly straining, pressing legs, he has a swollen and hard stomach - it's colic. You can put a warm diaper ironed on an iron on your tummy, make a light massage around the navel in a clockwise direction, give dill water or any simethicone-based preparation - “Espumizan" or "Bobotik". Usually colic is a physiological "nuisance", which itself goes away when a child is 3-4 months old.
  • The child sobs in his sleep, and then wakes up and screams sharply, "coming in" - the reason can be covered in inflammation of the middle ear. Otitis occurs with infants quite often. Check it out is simple - when you press the trestle (the protruding cartilage right at the entrance to the auricle), the pain increases, and the child begins to cry even more. If no pus, blood or other fluid is excreted from the ear, you can drip “Otipaks" or "Otinum", Wait for the morning and call a doctor.

If there is a discharge, you can not drip anything, you should not wait until the morning and call an ambulance.

  • The child whimpers in his sleep, worries, but does not wake up, and if he wakes up, he does not stop crying. Perhaps the reason for this behavior lies in teething. With a clean finger, you should check the baby's gums, if there are bumps that are painful to the touch, then you should use one of the dental gels allowed by age - “Calgel», «Metrogil Dent". They will somewhat facilitate the condition of the child, and he will be able to sleep.
  • Sluggish crying in a dream, similar to nagging, which lasts a long time and repeats several times a night, should alert the parents. If at the same time the child "spring" looks bloated and tense, it is quite possible, it is about increased intracranial pressure. Be sure to show the child to the doctor.
  • The child falls asleep well, but often starts in a dream, cries episodes 5-7 times a night, wakes himself up. The reason for this behavior may lie in psychological discomfort. This is usually observed in families where there is a lot of scandal, quarrel, scream, conflict. The little ones feel everything, they just can't say anything yet, moreover, they get cortisone with the breast milk - the stress hormone, if the mother is very nervous and worried. Cortisone stimulates nervous activity. Parents can notice certain nervous manifestations in a baby not only at night, but also after sleep. This flinches, fearfulness, anxiety and moodiness. Only one way out - stop nervous mother.

And some more useful tips:

  • Night bouts of crying always have a cause. But if a newborn usually cries only for physiological need - hunger, thirst, cold, then the two-month baby is already quite emotionally developed to cry in the middle of the night about a bad dream, a frightening feeling of loneliness, helplessness. Parents should approach each specific case taking into account individuality and age of the child.
  • The true motives of whining and screaming in the dark parents will not understand immediately. The first weeks the baby gets used to the new environment, to the world around him, and his parents get used to the baby and get to know him. Gradually by the nature of crying, by the duration, the intonation of the cry and others only by the mom and dad by clear signals, they unmistakably guess what exactly the baby needs at one time or another. You just need to be patient.
  • Physiological night crying - the phenomenon is short. If it was delayed for half a year, it is worthwhile to show the child to a pediatrician and a neurologist. It is possible that there are other reasons that prevent the baby from sleeping normally at night, and they may need medication.
  • Quite often prolonged night crying and moods in babies are the result pedagogical mistakes of parents. If at first they taught the child to fall asleep in their arms, they shook, and then they began to try to make the crumb fall asleep by itself. It is worth preparing for the fact that the baby will protest quite fiercely, to behave badly and restlessly at night. But if parents show calm perseverance, then cope with such difficulties will succeed.

How to understand why a baby cries and how to recognize its signs? See the following video about this.

Information provided for reference purposes. Do not self-medicate. At the first symptoms of the disease, consult a doctor.