What Is Toddler Sleep Regression?
Do these words ring a bell? Once upon a time, your child slept like a rock. Now, suddenly, they are fighting bedtime, waking up in the middle of the night, and getting up before dawn. Sleep regressions refer to these unexpected declines in sleep quality.
Sleep Regression Ages
Sleep regressions typically coincide with physical or developmental milestones (think: teething or learning a new skill like walking or talking).
- During the 3–4-month sleep regression, a 3-month-old may move from waking once a night to screaming for aid every hour.
- For instance, a 9-month-old may wake up often to practice crawling, causing discomfort (known as the 9-month sleep regression).
Child sleep may also regress, like a toddler who wakes up twice a night for a drink or your comfort. Parents typically experience child regressions between 18 months and 2 years. However, regressions may occur later.
Why Does Baby Sleep Regression Happen?
Toddlers have twice as many buzzing brain connections as adults. This massive burst of activity helps your inquisitive child learn to walk, run, talk, play games, and use etiquette.
Many lively kids detest nighttime because they miss these thrills. They are so excited by moving, learning, and exploring that they don’t want to go to sleep. Instead, they want to observe what everyone else is doing.
Tots are also learning how to navigate our clock-and-rule environment. No surprise they push our limits and get their way! This urge for independence may lead to stubbornness in certain youngsters (“No!” is a toddler favorite)! Another ubiquitous child feature worsens sleep problems: They get crankier and belligerent as they weary.
In addition to typical toddler stubbornness, other reasons for sleep regression include:
- Your bedtime timing is off. You set a bedtime too early (they’re not tired) or too late (they’re wired). Important: If your kid stopped napping, you may need to change bedtime earlier to prevent overtiredness-related sleep issues.
- Your toddler has anxiety. Toddlers’ fearfulness is typical. They are little individuals surrounded by huge people who shout, big dogs who howl, screen violence, and their own violent urges. Toddlers may suddenly dread the dark, strangers, “bad men,” and other things.
- Your toddler is hooked on Mom or Dad’s help. They haven’t learned to sleep without you.
- Your toddler is overexcited. Your child may be agitated by electronics, roughhousing, coffee before bedtime, or due to major life events like a new baby or preschool enrollment.
- Something’s bugging them. Bright lights, loud sounds, or pain (teething, a hot or cold room, a congested nose, itchy PJs, etc.) might disrupt sleep.
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?
Well, it depends. If you treat your child’s regression quickly, it may only last a few days to a couple of weeks. Negative sleep habits may be a real pain if they aren’t dealt with properly (via humiliation, impatience, conflicting signals, etc.).
How To Deal With Sleep Regression
Prepare for bedtime…during the day to improve toddler sleep.
Their day gets started after breakfast. That means kids sleep better with sunshine, fresh air, exercise, a decent diet, play, a little breathing or mindfulness practice, and no stimulants (iced tea, cola, sugar, chocolate, decongestants, etc.). Reading a bedtime book with your kid is