How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib

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Last Modified: 25 Nov 2021

Night Head Banging of Babies-How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib?

New parents frequently devote a significant amount of time and energy to boosting their child’s sleep. During such a period, parents may very well get confused by a new habit that emerges in infant stages: their baby hitting the head or moving their body repeatedly and systematically at sleep and also through the night.

While banging could be noisy and unnerving for families to witness, it is usually harmless. It is extremely rare for infants to be injured as a result of head bashing. This habit normally disappears on its own during toddlerhood and is not a symptom of any development or health issues.

While head banging is typically seen to be harmless, it can be classed as a problem called Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder if it interferes with a baby’s slumber or poses a danger.

Understanding the ropes of baby headbanging prior to and during sleeping can help parents better understand the behavior and determine when it’s time to consult their child’s pediatrician.

Understanding Head Banging and Why Do People Do It?

Head pounding is a habitual motion that occurs before or while they are sleeping. It can occur in a variety of ways depending on a child’s posture:

They elevate their head and occasionally part of their upper torso while lying face down in bed, then crash themselves down eventually the mattress.

They smack their heads on the cot, a wall, or some close item when sitting.

The head hammering continues in a regular pace, every about one-two seconds. It can last for a long time, although it usually only lasts fifteen minutes or less. The banging is frequently accompanied by vocalizations like a constant humming sound. If talked to, the child might stop on a temporarily but would begin again soon after.

The majority of headbanging in newborns and toddlers occurs in the hours leading up to sleep, but it could also occur during their sleep. It can also occur both during naps during the day.

Children and babies are said to be unaware of head thumping. Whenever a child who is of speaking age is queried the next day about headbanging, many frequently have no memory of it the night before.

What’s the Connection Between Head Banging, Head Rolling, and Body Rocking?

Prior to actually sleeping or even during it, headbanging is also not the only sort of repetitive movement that could also occur. Some examples of other rhythmic movements are:

Body Rocking

When a youngster is on its hands and knees, they can rock their entire body backward and forwards, or even just their torso if they are sitting.

Head Rolling

Head rolling is a common side-to-side head motion that occurs most often when a youngster is on their back.

Leg or Body Rolling

The body or legs are rolled sideward while lying on their back.

Leg Banging

In this motion, that mostly happens whilst the child is on its back, they lift their legs and constantly knock them back on the bed.

One of the most prevalent rhythmic movements includes head pounding, body swaying, and head roll. Several children may demonstrate one or a combination of these movements all at the same time.

Body rocking usually begins about 6 months of age, whereas head pounding usually begins around nine months.

Why Do Babies and Infants Strike Their Heads?

The reason behind the headbanging of the babies or other periodic movements preceding to or during sleep is unexplained. Although there is a scant study on these behaviors, there are some suggestions as to why head pounding occurs:

It’s a way of calming down. Despite the fact that the movement does not appear to be calming to parents, the rhythmic quality of the movement may assist a child in falling asleep.

It’s a type of self-stimulatory behavior. Headbanging and similar movements could be a manner of getting the inner ear’s vestibular system stimulated, which is vital for childhood development, as it aids with movement comprehension and environmental awareness.

It’s a reaction to stress. While there is less evidence to support this theory, other researchers feel that rhythmic motions are a fundamental mechanism for very young toddlers to cope with worry.

More research is needed to discover whether any of these possibilities can definitively explain why newborns and early children bang their heads.

What Is the Frequency of Head Banging?

Infants participate in repetitive motions such as head banging; around 59 percent of babies aged 9 months engage in headbanging, head rolling, body rocking, or similar activity.

Headbanging becomes less common as youngsters enter their toddler years. At the age of 18 months, 33% of children have rhythmic movements. By the time the child reaches five years, the predominance has dropped to only 5%.

Is Head-Banging Harmful to Your Health?

Babies’ head banging is usually not harmful to their health. The regular movements of most babies and young children do not interfere with their development and sleep. While parents may be concerned when they see or hear head banging or body rolling, it is rarely a danger to their children.

Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder is an exception. When a child’s skull banging or other related habits cause harm, greatly disrupt their sleep, or cause daytime impairment7, this syndrome is identified. According to research, this disorder affects just 0.34 percent to 2.87 percent of newborns and toddlers8. The vast majority of children that engage in rhythmic, repetitive behaviors do not have Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder, as evidenced by this research.

Kids who have an illness are unlikely to damage themselves seriously if simple safety precautions are taken. They do, however, experience more sleep disruptions9, poorer sleep quality, and everyday issues such as poor focus and memory.

Would Head Banging a Symptom of a Serious Health Issue?

It is unlikely for headbanging to represent a symptom of a more serious health issue. Though parents may be concerned that their child’s behavior is indicative of a developmental disorder or another problem, this is rarely the case. Headbanging is a harmless and brief phase for most youngsters, with no negative effects on their emotional development, cognitive, or physical.

Research on whether there is a link between difficulties like anxiety disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children with Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder is inconclusive (ADHD). To date, no definite link has been made, and only some, not all, children with a sleep movement issue show indicators of a mental health problem.

According to some studies, Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder10 may be linked to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder characterized by breathing pauses during sleep, or restless leg syndrome (RLS), a condition characterized by a strong need to move the limbs. As all of these illnesses have the potential to impair sleep, research has yet to show a consistent correlation between them.

When Should Parents Seek Medical Help for Head Banging?

Although headbanging is seldom a medical problem, parents should consult with their child’s physician if:

  • There is no evidence of head-bashing or other repetitive actions causing harm.
  • Their youngster doesn’t get as much sleep at night or exhibits signs of lack of attention, inability to concentrate, or slowed thinking during the day.
  • The movements occur throughout the day, not just before and after sleep.
  • When a child is no longer a toddler, they continue to bang their heads.

A pediatrician will usually urge parents to keep a sleep diary for their kids, detailing how often they experience episodes of head pounding. This may be enough to determine if a kid has Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder, but if more tests are needed to rule out the existence of other sleep disorders and reach a definitive diagnosis, the doctor can order them.

What Can Parents Do If Their Child Keeps Banging His Head?

Parents normally do not need to take any action if their child’s rhythmic movements do not disrupt their sleep or cause damage. These behaviors usually fade away on their own over time. However, if there are signs of damage or sleep disruption, parents should seek medical advice from their child’s doctor.

In general, because the majority of head pounding is harmless, parents do not need to interfere to try to stop it. This may interfere with a child’s sleep, and it can also frustrate parents because many youngsters rapidly return to their rhythmic motions.

Parents who are concerned about their child’s headbanging should take simple precautions to reduce the risk of damage. This entails ensuring that their cot or bed is well-made and complies with national safety standards11. Checking for damage and tightening the screws on a regular basis will help maintain the crib sturdy during nighttime use. To avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies under the age of 12 months should sleep on their backs on a firm mattress with no soft things in their crib.

If parents or other family members are bothered by the noise of head pounding or body shaking, the crib can be relocated away from the wall to reduce reverberations. Using white noise device in the child’s room may assist to calm them down and block out any noises that might wake them awake. A baby monitor is a convenient method to keep a watch on night activities without being physically present with the baby in their room.

Is it possible for adults to bang their heads?

Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder can last into adolescence and adulthood, despite its rarity.

Because it is so rare, there is still a lot to learn and understand what this disorder is about especially in adults. Individuals with Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Problems have a bigger chance of suffering from substantial daytime symptoms, according to studies. Adults appear to have a higher prevalence of familial patterns in which numerous near relatives have the disease.

Adults having Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder were far more prone to have concomitant conditions such ADHD, mental health issues, autism, or central nervous system injury, according to certain research. Other studies, on the other hand, haven’t found the same links. Furthermore, many patients with anomalous behavior related to these other illnesses have repetitive motions all day, not only before and during sleep.

It will take a lot more research to figure out just what leads to headbanging continuing into adulthood, and how or why Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder differs between children and adults.


When you make a baby sleep usually they are made to sleep in the crib but when as a parent you witness a problem such as headbanging after a baby’s sleep it is worrisome. You have to keep an eye out for their bedtime routine as to what triggers them so that the baby sleeps peacefully. But even after the baby falls asleep and you cannot find the reason behind them facing the problem, do seek professional help. You have to make sure the baby fall asleep in peace and baby wakes up without having to go through any trouble.

The National Sleep Foundation believes a good night’s sleep is induced through good sleep habits and a safe sleep environment in a person’s own bed. Though you do have to be careful of the fact that the headbanging problem doesn’t continue on in adulthood.