Why Does My Baby Keep Rolling Over In Sleep And Wake Up Crying?

  • By: The DIG for Kids
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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Read this article to learn why your baby is rolling over in their sleep and what to do when it wakes them up.

It can be very stressful to have a baby rolling over in sleep and waking up crying. Some babies roll over while sleeping because they are excited about a new skill. They may eventually learn to settle back down, but sometimes they need help from a parent or caregiver. 

The most common reason that a baby might be rolling around in their sleep is that they are fascinated by this new movement skill. They’re probably playing with how they can roll and move while in their crib. In this case, they will soon settle down again as they get used to other forms of movement. 

Another reason is simply that they want to get comfortable. It’s similar to why adults change positions while sleeping. They may find themselves rolling around to get into a more comfortable position and wake up either because of the movement or because they’re unable to get comfortable on their own.

Rolling around isn’t all of that bad as it can help them gain strength in their core, shoulders, and neck. It’s a wait for your infant to experiment with how their muscles move around and gain more control over those movements. However, there are new risks involved if your infant is moving around a lot in their crib, so it’s essential to be aware. 

Is It Safe for a Baby to Roll Over in Their Sleep?

Your baby rolling over in their sleep is not dangerous. Most babies start to roll around on their own when they are about 4 to 6 months old. Rolling over is an integral part of your baby’s growth. If they roll over during their sleep, you don’t need to roll them over to lie on their back again. 

While every baby should start sleeping sessions on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS, there isn’t any danger in your baby rolling over while sleeping. They will figure out a way to roll themselves back into the original position in most cases. Your baby should be safe as long as there isn’t anything in the bed, such as toys, blankets, or pillows. 

The only thing that should be concerning about a baby continuously rolling over while sleeping is that it is probably a sign that they are uncomfortable in some way. Ensure that you are going through burping then and other routines to help them settle to sleep. Also, check the crib and their surroundings to see if anything is causing the discomfort.

Some things to watch out for a while your baby is in their rolling phase:

  • Remove any kind of bedding from the crib, including crib bumpers.
  • Avoid leaving your infant to sleep on a coach or other surface that they could roll-off
  • Don’t swaddle your baby before putting them to bed, as swaddling makes it challenging to move around. Avoid using any kind of weighted blankets or other sleeping aids.

The important thing is that you aren’t doing anything to try and prevent your infant or rolling around. This includes strapping them into a swing or swaddling to prevent movement. It’s more dangerous to limit their movement than to allow them to move around in their sleep. Remember that this is only a face, and they will soon settle down.

What to Do If They Roll Over and Wake Up

If your baby rolls over in the night and starts crying, you need to wait and see if it needs your intervention. It may be that your baby is simply fussing or crying about a general discomfort. You should wait about 10 to 15 minutes before getting up to check on them in person so that they have time to roll back over. Use a baby monitor if worried. 

One of the main reasons babies roll over in their sleep is because they feel uncomfortable. Because of this, they awake and start to cry, voicing their discomfort. It’s essential to wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes for them to fuss and cry and see whether or not they’re able to rule themselves back over and fall back asleep. 

If, after waiting 10 to 15 minutes, your baby is still crying, then you can go and see why they’re upset, whether this is simply wanting your comfort, moving them back onto their back, or even feeding or walking around with them in your arms. If it happens regularly, you might want to check if something about the crib or room they’re sleeping in causes the discomfort.

Some other things to try are:

  • Ensuring that your infant’s room is cool, dark, and quiet
  • Use white noise machines or shushing sounds to help your baby fall back asleep
  • Establishing a bedtime routine that lets them know that sleeping is coming soon
  • Ensuring that you’re putting your baby to sleep at the same time every night

How Long Does the Rolling Phase Last?

The rolling phase will usually start when they are four to six months old and is a relatively short-lived phase of about 2 to 3 weeks. They will probably try out this new skill of rolling and switching positions during this time, but it shouldn’t last for very long before they settle down. If it lasts longer, you should talk to your doctor about solutions.

Having a baby constantly rolling around in their sleep and waking themselves up can be a very frustrating thing to deal with regularly. Luckily this phase of rolling about during sleep sessions is a short-lived one of only a couple of weeks. You can either wait for them to roll back over and get comfortable again or turn them over yourself. 

If the rolling for you last longer than these two to three weeks, you should talk to your baby’s doctor for possible solutions. This could be anything from safely swaddling them while they are sleeping to possibly some reason for the discomfort. Be sure to inspect the space your baby is trying to sleep in to see any apparent causes.

What If Your Baby Only Sleeps On Their Stomach?

Some babies simply sleep better on their stomachs than on their backs. This means that your baby, in particular, may roll onto their stomach frequently while sleeping to get more comfortable. However, parents and caregivers should still be cautious and ensure that their babies fall asleep on their back since it’s the safest position.

As previously talked about in this article, it’s completely safe if your baby rolls into a different position after they’ve already fallen asleep. The only safety concern is their falling asleep in a position other than on their back. If your baby sleeps better on their stomach and rolls over all the time for a more comfortable sleep, you don’t have to worry about any safety issues.

Keep in mind that if your baby wakes up and you need to help them fall back asleep, you should position them on their back again. Most of the time, if they roll over in their sleep and don’t want to be on their stomach, they will roll over back themselves. Just ensure that your baby falls asleep on their back, but otherwise, there should be an issue.

When Should You Talk to Your Doctor?

You should be telling your doctor about any kind of change in your baby’s sleep patterns. There’s no reason to speak to your doctor about rolling in general. Still, you may want to mention it if you are having difficulty moving back over or if your baby looks pretty distressed whenever they wake up from rolling around. Speak to your doctor but any behavior that worries you. 

Suppose your baby looks pretty distraught and uncomfortable upon waking. In that case, you should consider talking to your doctor about the possibility of some other issue involved with this rolling habit. You should also talk to your doctor if your baby is rolling over but having difficulty flipping back into their original position. This is especially important if your baby doesn’t have good head or neck control. 

If your baby is having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, which is causing them to roll around a lot, you should also talk to a doctor. It could be that there is some other issue either with your baby’s health or with the environment that they’re trying to sleep in. You should also worry if your child isn’t rolling by six months.

Keeping some kind of journal where you can keep track of your baby’s sleeping habits could be helpful if you’re worried that something else might be causing your baby to move and wake up in the night. He could help you find specific patterns that may link to why your baby is behaving the way they are or help your doctor find any problems. 


The most common reason babies roll around in their sleep is that they are trying out this new skill. Another reason is that they are trying to get comfortable much in how adults move around in their sleep. You’re going to have to wait until they settle down on their own where is if it is discomfort, there may be things you can do to fix it.