5 Month Old Sleep Problems (Causes and How To Fix It)

5 month old sleep problems can be a drag. You’re both sleep-deprived, you and your baby are cranky all the time, and you can’t just figure out how to make your baby’s sleep challenges go away.

Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many parents face this issue and we’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll first explore the reasons behind your baby’s sleep troubles. Then we’ll provide practical solutions to ensure both you and your little one get the rest you need.

Let’s get started with the possible reasons why your 5-month-old is having some sleep issues.

5 Month Old Sleep Problems: Reasons Why Your Baby Can’t Sleep

Your Baby is Hungry

Hunger is a common cause of nighttime awakenings for babies. 

At 5 months, your little one’s appetite is growing, and they may genuinely need to feed during the night to meet their nutritional requirements. 

This can be especially true if your baby is going through a growth spurt.

Your Baby is Teething

Teething can be an uncomfortable and even painful experience for most babies. 

The whole process of their teeth breaking through the gums can cause babies to have sore gums, become more irritable, and lead to disrupted sleep patterns.

Diaper Changes

A wet or soiled diaper can be a major sleep disruptor. 

For some babies, even a slightly damp diaper can trigger discomfort and awakenings. 

A diaper that doesn’t fit well can also lead to leakages and diaper blowouts which can also disrupt your baby’s sleep.

Daily Routine Changes

Babies thrive on predictability and routine. 

Any disruptions to their daily schedule, such as travel, visitors, or changes in the environment, can lead to sleep disturbances. 

Waketime (Playtime) Issues

Finding the right balance can be quite difficult, especially if you’re a first-time parent. But it’s quite important to get it right.

If your baby is too stimulated and active before bedtime, it can be challenging for them to settle down and fall asleep. 

Overly stimulating activities close to bedtime can make it harder for your baby to transition into sleep mode.

Needs More Stimulation

On the flip side, some babies need more stimulation during the day to tire them out for better sleep at night. 

If they are getting enough engagement and activity during their waking hours, your baby might struggle to sleep longer at night.

Needs to Drop the 3rd Nap

Around 5 months, some babies are ready to transition from three naps to two naps a day. 

This can be a challenging adjustment, and adapting to a new napping schedule can be hard for your baby.

Sleep Regressions

The dreaded sleep regression is a temporary phase that many babies go through at different months and phases, including around 5 months. 

During this time, your baby might experience increased night awakenings, fussiness, and difficulty falling asleep. 

This regression is often associated with developmental changes and typically resolves on its own.

Developmental Changes

Milestones like rolling over, learning to sit, or even beginning to crawl can lead to sleep disruptions. 

Your baby may be so excited about these new abilities that they want to practice them at night, causing them to wake up more frequently.

Other 5 Month Old Sleeping Issues

Baby Will Only Sleep When Rocked

Some babies become accustomed to being rocked or held to sleep. This can become a habit that’s hard to break, leading to frequent wake-ups when they don’t experience the same soothing motion.

Baby Falls Asleep When We’re Out, But Won’t Sleep at Home

It’s not uncommon for babies to behave differently in different environments. 

Your baby might fall asleep easily when you’re on the go, but resist sleep when you’re at home, where their sleep environment may be different.

Baby Is Resisting Their Nap

Some babies are just more resistant to daytime sleep. 

This can lead to overtiredness and nighttime sleep problems.

Baby Can’t Sleep Without Their Routine

Many babies thrive on routines, and this can be a good thing. 

However, if your baby becomes overly dependent on a rigid sleep routine, it can become a challenge to put them to sleep in different situations or environments, especially when you’re traveling.

Solutions to 5-Month-Old Sleep Problems

Consistent Bedtime

Ensure your baby goes to bed around 7-8 PM to create a predictable sleep routine. 

A consistent bedtime signals to your baby that it’s time to sleep and helps regulate their internal clock.

To further support this routine, create a soothing bedtime ritual. 

This can include activities like a warm bath, reading a book, or gentle rocking. The key is to choose calming activities that signal the transition from playtime to bedtime, helping your baby relax and prepare for sleep.

Follow Proper Wake Windows

Pay attention to your baby’s wakefulness during the day. 

At 5 months, they typically can stay awake for about 2-2.5 hours between naps. 

Be attuned to your baby’s cues for tiredness, such as rubbing their eyes or becoming fussy. Responding to these cues and putting your baby down for a nap within the appropriate awake window can prevent overtiredness and make it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.

If ever they wake up at night, keep interactions with your baby minimal yet soothing. Avoid turning on any bright lights or talking when changing your baby’s diapers.

These activities can make it more challenging for them to settle back to sleep. 

Create a Conducive Sleep Environment

Ensure your baby’s nursery room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. 

Consider using blackout curtains to block out any external light that might interfere with sleep.

Additionally, make sure the crib or bassinet is free of loose bedding, pillows, or toys that could pose a suffocation hazard. 

A firm and flat sleep surface is safest for your baby. Using a pacifier during sleep can also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Avoid Overstimulation

Limit exposures to stimulating activities or even bright lights an hour before your baby’s bedtime, as these can disrupt your baby’s internal clock and make it harder for them to fall asleep.

Just do calming and soothing activities like reading a book, or listening to lullabies before bedtime to help your baby wind down. 

If your baby is fussy before bedtime, try gentle techniques like swaddling, rocking, or cuddling to help them relax. 

The goal is to create a serene and peaceful environment that signals to your baby that it’s time to sleep.

Encourage Self Soothing

Gradually introduce your baby to self-soothing techniques. This helps them learn how to fall back asleep on their own when they wake up during the night. 

While it’s natural to provide comfort when needed, avoid immediately picking up your baby at the first sign of awakening. 

Instead, give them a few minutes to see if they can settle themselves.

Help Your Baby Take a Nap

Pay attention as well to your baby’s nap schedule as that can affect their sleep at night.

This involves being consistent and looking at baby’s cues for tiredness and ensuring they have the opportunity to nap within their ideal awake windows during the day.

A calm and quiet environment is also important for napping.

So use white noise to drown out household sounds and/or black our curtains to dim the room when needed.

Following a consistent nap routine can help your baby develop healthy sleep habits and improve their overall sleep quality.

FAQ About 5 Month Old Not Sleeping Well

How Much Should a 5 Month Old Sleep?

Your 5-month-old baby needs 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep and 3-4 hours of daily nap hours.

Why is my 5-month-old having trouble sleeping?

Your 5-month-old is having trouble sleeping probably because of developmental milestones, changes in routine, hunger, teething, and sleep regressions. Scroll above to check out more reasons why your 5-month-old baby is having sleep problems.

Is there a sleep regression at 5 months?

Yes, there is a sleep regression at 5 months. 

How long does 5-month-old sleep regression last?

Your 5-month-old sleep regression can last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months.

How can I get my 5-month-old to sleep better?

You can get your 5 month old to sleep better by establishing a consistent bedtime routine, creating a sleep-friendly environment, helping them take better naps, and overall, just being patient with them. 

5 Month Old Sleep Problems: Final Thoughts

Sleep challenges can be exhausting, but remember, this phase is temporary. 

Babies go through various stages, and sleep patterns can fluctuate. 

With patience, consistency, and the right strategies, you can help your baby develop healthy sleep habits that will benefit them—and you—for years to come. 

If you found this “5 month old sleep problem” article helpful, be sure to explore our other resources on baby sleep right below:

Julie