What is sleep regression?
Sleep regression is the sudden disruption of a baby’s sleep pattern: a period of time in which a baby or toddler (4-18 months) experiences a sudden disruption in their normal sleeping patterns. It can be caused by a number of factors, such as developmental milestones, teething, illness, or changes in routine. During this time, babies and toddlers tend to wake up frequently throughout the night, take shorter naps, and resist going to bed.
Although it can be frustrating for parents and caregivers, it is a short-term issue. With patience and consistency, sleep regression will resolve quickly and the little one will soon be back to their sleeping routine.
Sleep Regression Management
Sleep regression is a common problem and it can be caused by a number of factors, including as a developmental milestone, teething, illness, a change in routine, or separation anxiety. It often puts a strain on parents as they struggle to keep their baby asleep.
There are ways to manage sleep regression and help your baby get back to sleeping through the night. It is important to be consistent with your baby’s sleep routine: keeping the bed time, wake time and nap time on a regular sleep schedule.
Avoid over-stimulation before bedtime and provide a calming sleep environment for your baby: dim the lights, avoid loud noises and provide a comfortable sleeping surface. Establish a bedtime routine that your infant can look forward to: a warm bath, a short massage, a lullaby, and a cuddle before bed.
Remember that sleep regression is a normal part of development and that it will past — even if it feels like it is taking forever. Be patient and understanding with your child.
Strategies for successful sleep habits during a sleep regression include
- maintaining a consistent bedtime routine,
- keeping the bedroom environment dark and calm,
- and avoiding screen time before bed.
It is also important to ensure that your child is getting enough sleep and that they are not overtired. If your child is having difficulty settling to sleep or walks frequently at night, provide reassurance and comfort as needed, but avoid entertaining activities or extended conversations, as this can make it harder to fall sleep.
Finally, if necessary, seek professional advice from a pediatrician or sleep specialist to help create a plan for your child’s individual needs.
Getting back on track
Babies and infants need to have multiple naps during the day in order to get the rest that they need. Try to ensure that your child has at least two naps a day and is getting enough sleep overall. Make sure he or she is getting enough physical activity during the day. Exercise helps babies to fall asleep faster and can also help them to stay asleep longer. Talk to your pediatrician if you feel that your baby is not getting enough physical activity.
Sleep regression is a normal part of development and can be a difficult time for both parents and babies. It is important to remember that sleep regressions are usually temporary and will pass. By taking steps to ensure your baby is getting adequate sleep, you can help your baby through the regression and back to a good night’s sleep.
- De Bellefonds, C. (2023, January 24). Signs of Sleep Regression in Babies and What to Do About It. What to Expect. https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/sleep/sleep-regression/
- Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Regression. (2021, August 31). Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-is-sleep-regression-5190770
- Pelly, J. (2019, October 14). Why Won’t They Sleep? Dealing with the 8-Month Sleep Regression. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/8-month-sleep-regression