Baby Md

As a parent, you must be experiencing periods when your well-sleeping infant or toddler begins to wake up frequently in the night. Their well-established sleep routine and the comfort of uninterrupted sleep go for a toss. These sleepless periods that last 2-3 weeks are known as sleep regression. This article discusses their causes, signs and symptoms, durations, age-on-age regression, and tips to help you and your little one manage this challenging period.

A Little More About Sleep Regression

Sleep regression is not a disorder or disease but a developmental phase in your baby’s life that affects their sleep. You will notice a disruption in sleep at ages four months, six months, eight months, twelve months, eighteen months, and two years. However, as every child is unique, some may undergo sleep regression more frequently, for more than two weeks, while some may not. In any case, you must express love and support for your child during these phases.

Causes of Sleep Regression

There are several factors responsible for sleep regression. Understanding them can prepare you to manage sleepless nights smoothly. Factors include:

Developmental milestones: Milestones like rolling over, crawling, and teething can disrupt your child’s sleep as they adjust to new cognitive and physical capabilities.

Separation anxiety: Your baby may begin to register separation at 6-8 months, making them anxious and clingy, further leading to nighttime wakings.

Teething: Teething causes pain and discomfort in the gums, often making it difficult for your little one to sleep soundly.

Changes in routine: Any change in your baby’s daily routine, like going to daycare, travelling to a new place, or changing meal timings or type of food, can contribute to sleep regression.

Illness: Cold, cough, chest congestion, ear infection, stomach infections, or any other disease can cause disturbances and difficulty during sleep time.

Sleep Regression Signs and Symptoms

You can identify if your child is waking up due to sleep regression or other problems by noticing the following signs and symptoms. 

Increased night wakings: You might notice your toddler frequently waking in the night baby, who once slept for longer stretches.

Difficulty falling asleep: Your baby may struggle to fall asleep independently or easily.

Shorter naps: Your child’s daytime naps may become shorter and less restful.

Change in appetite: You may notice your child being fussy with their food, often expressing disinterest towards them. 

Duration of Sleep Regression

Sleep regression may vary from child to child but usually lasts anywhere between two to six weeks. As this phase is temporary, you should be patient and make efforts, using tips and tricks, to stabilise your child’s sleep patterns.

Age-on-Age Sleep Regression

You will notice sleep regression at different ages, each with its unique challenges:

Four months: This is the first sleep pattern change your baby experiences as they transition from deep sleep to a lighter sleep phase.

Six months: Some babies may or may not experience sleep regression at six months. For the ones who do, it may happen due to teething, nighttime hunger, and separation anxiety.

Eight months: Sleep regression may happen anytime between eight to ten months and is due to emotional awareness, developmental milestones, and growth spurts.

Twelve months: You’ll notice sleep regression at eleven or twelve months due to your baby’s growing skills, emotional awareness, teething, and other developmental milestones. 

Eighteen months: Your toddler’s increasing mobility and awareness can lead to nighttime awakening, fussiness, and more daytime naps. At this age, there are shifts in the circadian rhythm of your toddler that cause physical and mental changes responsible for feeling sleepy and wakefulness. Additionally, your toddler feels a new sense of independence and may want to stay awake to practice their growing skills.

Two years: This regression is usually the last one and can be due to changes in your toddler’s routine, like potty training, separation anxiety, nightmares, or sleeping in a different room or bed.

Tips and Tricks To Manage Sleep Regression

Now that you have gone through all the stages and causes of sleep regression, let’s look at some strategies to manage and navigate these phases.

Establish a bedtime routine: Be consistent with your little one’s bedtime. It can be comforting for your child and may assist as a cue for them to get to bed. You can include activities like bathing, reading a book, and singing lullabies before they sleep.

Create a comforting sleep environment: You can dim the room’s lights, maintain a comfortable temperature, play soft music or white noise, or keep your child’s favourite stuffed toy or blanket near them to ensure their sleep space is soothing and sleep-inducing.

Respond to your toddler’s needs: Usually, during sleep regression, your baby might need more reassurance and comfort. Try to be there for them and comfort them when they ask for it.

Stay calm and patient: These phases can be stressful for you and your tiny tot. Even when you are running low on fuel, try to stay calm in front of your baby so that they can feel secure.

Adjust your child’s daytime naps: Keep an eye on your baby’s daytime nap schedule and adjust it to avoid them getting overtired.

Communicate and share responsibilities: Communicate when you are tired, exhausted, or sleepy to your partner or trusted family member so they can assist with the baby. Also, schedule your nighttime so that you and your partner share equal responsibilities and get some rest.


Experiencing sleep regression is a demanding stage in your parenthood journey. However, with the knowledge about regression, its causes, and various tips and strategies, you are better equipped to navigate this period and provide the love and support your child needs. Remember that every child is different, and it is okay if your child doesn’t experience sleep regression or has it too frequently. Be mindful of the cues and with time and consistent efforts, you and your baby will be out of this phase and off to the next one!