What is Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression is basically when a baby starts to wake up early or refuse to take naps who previously was sleeping perfectly well. This change appears to be for no reason and the parents can’t understand the reason behind it. This can prove to be exhausting for both the baby and the parents because the child reverts back to staying up all night which messes with the parent’s sleep schedule. This can mean that for the 4-6 week period that these regressions usually last for (on average), the parents are caught completely off guard with sleepless nights. A child may suffer from multiple episodes of these sleep pattern anomalies and at different ages.
Sleep regression chart
4 Month Sleep Regression
Beware of the 4-month regression. Studies have shown that 4 months is the age when a child’s sleep patterns begin to mature and consolidate. This means that the changes that take place at the 4-month episode are likely to become habits. Their sleeping patterns are likely to change and they may start waking up earlier at around 6 or 7 a.m. compared to the previous 7 or 8 a.m. To compensate for this early rising time, it is important to shift the bedtime to earlier as well. It is important to realize that shifting the child’s bedtime forwards in the hopes that it will make them wake up later will only backfire so please avoid it, for your own and your child’s health.
This is the period of time when the baby starts to be able to stay awake for longer periods of time between naps, this means that naps are pushed further and further apart. You should also realize that children at 4 months old are more acutely aware of their surroundings. They can’t just fall asleep anywhere, they need a pre-set environment where they can fall asleep regularly. This makes it more difficult for you to manage them because you can’t possibly rush home every few hours just to get your baby that nap. Well, there’s no alternative to it, if you don’t attend to your child’s sleep needs, they’re going to wake up in the middle of the night and cause a significant disturbance in your sleep schedule.
Now, what can you do to fix this? As your child starts to display signs of entering the 4-month sleep regression there are some basic steps you need to take to make the transition as smooth as possible for both of you. You need to transition your child out of one of their naps, this can be easily done because the child starts to spend greater amounts of time awake between naps and this can allow you to cut one map out entirely. This will help the baby fall asleep earlier at night. Your baby falling asleep earlier at night will allow your child to wake-up early in the morning, fresh and eager to start the day. You should also try to make sure that the baby is laid to nap in the exact same room every time because frequent changes can disturb the baby’s sleep routine considerably.
Also read: Help your Kids Fall Asleep Faster
8 Month Sleep Regression
This particular regression can prove to be the toughest, especially if you aren’t prepared. This episode of decreased or irritable sleep occurs due to a large number of developmental milestones that your child has been achieving.
At 8-9 months of age, most babies begin to learn to crawl and even start teething. All of this developmental pressure can translate into the widely famous 8 Month Sleep Regression. This can make your baby highly cranky and moody. It will also mean that you end up losing more of your night sleep staying awake with your baby. This particular episode usually lasts for about 3-6 weeks on average. It is also important to understand that while the 4 Month Regression permanently altered your child’s sleeping pattern, the 8 Month episode is only temporary.
An 8-Month-old child typically requires 11-12 hours of sleep every night with 2-3 hours of sleep during the day. The nighttime sleep can often be interrupted because chances are that at this age your child is too wired to stay in bed for that long. Parents sleeping with their children can be very reassuring to the children and can lead to longer hours of uninterrupted sleep. It is also important to be patient with your child because they are bound to figure out the sleep schedule that suits their needs best, all they need is support.
Also read: How Much Sleep Do I Need
11 Month Sleep Regression
The 11-month regression is one that affects fewer children than others. This regression is mostly related to nap times. This is the age when your child begins to resist their second map of the day and tried to get through the day on the single nap alone. Most parents consider this a natural progression of the sleep routine as the child ages, but it’s only the sleep regression. It can even lead to a temperamental and fussy 1-year-old on your hands. The average age when a child is supposed to transition to just one nap a day is around 15 to 18 months.
It is best to urge your child to sleep during this phase, that is because your child gets exhausted faster because of all the exercises they’re getting with crawling all over the place and some children might even begin to walk around this age. The best way to transition or help your child out of this phase is to stick to a schedule and try to get them grown for their regular scheduled naps. The child may resist vigorously but will eventually relent because the child is truly tired. You need to understand that at 11 or 12 months, your child is probably not old enough to transition to a one nap/day schedule.
Also read: Best crib mattress
18 Month Sleep Regression
Be prepared parents and guardians! This is a tough one! The 18-month regression is bound to sweep you away if you aren’t careful. At 18 months, your child is no longer a baby, they’ve begun to become independent and have started to voice their opinions. They are stubborn and throw tantrums all over the place. At this point, your child is a walking and talking toddler that wants what they want, and when they want it.
Your child may also begin to suffer from separation anxiety around this age, they may begin to cry and throw tantrums when you leave after setting them down for naps and when you tuck them in for the night. At this age, they may even crawl out of bed just to get to you, which can be a huge safety hazard for a child that young. Teething is also a huge contributing factor when it comes to the induction of this phase of sleep regression. At 18 months, the child begins to teeth molars which are incredibly painful and can disturb your toddler’s sleep patterns.
This phase of sleep regression usually lasts for about 3-4 weeks, try to make sure that you are feeding your child enough calories at multiple times during the day to keep their energy levels up. And like all other phases of regression, the best way to get through it is to be consistent in your child’s schedule and try to put them down for sleep at the same time every day. Eventually, the baby is bound to stop resisting because with all the exercise they get while awake, they could use some sleep.
24 Month Sleep Regression
The 24-month regression is quite complicated because around 2 years of age, a child is bound to be going through some major life changes that can wreak all kinds of havoc on their sleep schedule. All the stress that they go through with potty training and transitioning into a big-kids bed can prove to be a lot. Your child may even be getting a new sibling at this point which can lead to added feelings of jealousy and envy that can prove to be exhausting for such an innocent mind. It has been found that 24 months is the typical age around which children begin to experience bad dreams that can even become night terrors.
It is important to be sensitive to everything that your child goes through at this age and is bound to cause sleep disturbances. Getting adjusted to a new bed can be hard for your child and this may lead to problems, it is best to wait for your child to ask for a big-kids bed before you transition them on your own. Your kid might want to skip naps altogether. Some parents may even think that two years may be old enough to transition a child out from napping but this is not true. Some children may adapt nicely to haplessness.
But most children need their midday nap till they are about 4-5 years old. The easiest way to get out of this period of sleep regression is to stay persistent. You must keep asking your child if they want the naps. No matter how much they refuse, you must keep offering it to them. Being 2 years old is exhausting and your child is bound to give in to the nap at some point. You should also try to talk to your child and try to find out why they don’t want to nap, it is also important to validate their fears and anxiety so that they feel more at ease.
Try to understand that a child that young requires large amounts of support and care. The more you understand about your child’s sleep patterns, the easier it will be to be a good parent in this area. And as a parent or guardian, it is your job to provide it. Try to be patient with your children because eventually, they will figure out their sleep routine. Also, the tip that is worked the most with kids is to remain persistent about naps. This is because most of the sleep regressions deal with children not wanting to nap. Stay patient and remember, these regressions don’t last for more than 6 weeks at a time. You’ll make it. Just keep going.