At 18 months old, most babies are going through a sleep regression. This is a normal part of a child’s growth and development but can be frustrating for parents.
Normally, an 18-month-old toddler should be getting 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours. This may be 1 1/2 to 2 hours of napping in the afternoon and 10 to 12 hours of sleep at night.
Do 18-Month-Olds Need Naps?
By the age of 18-24 months, toddlers only require at least one nap each day. Young children who take early afternoon naps for less than 60 minutes have been shown to sleep well at night. However, naps should not be cut short even if the toddler sleeps well at night.
Do Babies Experience Sleep Regression at 18 Months?
Many parents report that their toddlers experience the 18-month sleep regression. This is a time when your child may start to resist sleep more than usual and may wake up more frequently during the night.
Some parents find this to be the most difficult of the regular baby and toddler sleep regressions. It is important to be patient and continue enforcing a regular sleep schedule during the 18-month sleep regression.
What Causes the 18-Month-Old Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression is a phenomenon that can occur in 18-month-old toddlers. There are several leading causes of sleep regression in this age group, including changes in routine, teething, growth spurts, and separation anxiety.
Additionally, a toddler’s brain development, changes in daily habits, and learning new skills, as well as major changes in their circadian rhythms, may bring about changes in their sleep, like the one year old sleep regression.
Here are some of the reasons for toddler sleep regression:
Growth and Developmental Milestones
There are many things that can cause 18-month sleep regression. One of these is when young children improve their physical abilities, learn language skills and become more active especially during the day.
When a child reaches a new stage of development, they may struggle more with sleeping through the night. This is because their brain and body are working hard to figure out all of the new changes.
Separation anxiety is when a child gets upset because they are away from a parent or caregiver. This can make it hard for them to sleep because they might be worried that something bad will happen to the person they are separated from.
One of the leading causes of 18-month sleep regression is toddlers seeking independence. This means that they are trying to figure out more about themselves and their world, and as a result, can often resist sleep or throw tantrums at bedtime.
Teething is one of the causes of sleep regressions in 18-month-old toddlers.
When a child is teething, they may experience sleep disruptions due to the pain and discomfort associated with the process.
In addition, teething can cause a child to be irritable and fussy, which can also lead to nighttime sleep disturbances.
Why Is the 18-Month Sleep Regression One of the Hardest to Deal With?
The 18-month sleep regression is one of the hardest to deal with because it involves your toddler asserting their independence and wanting to do things on their own. This can be difficult to deal with, as you are used to managing everything for them.
Additionally, these behavior changes can temporarily disrupt your toddler’s sleep times. These sleep problems can also involve a lot of bedtime battles and night wakings as your toddler adjusts to trying to fall asleep independently or experiences trouble falling asleep. This can be extremely stressful and exhausting for both you and your toddler.
However, it is important to remember that this is a normal part of the development and it will eventually pass, but likely come back for the two year old sleep regression.
How Long Does the 18-Month Sleep Regression Last?
Sleep regressions are temporary, and can happen multiple times in your children’s lives but only last a few weeks. The 18-month sleep regression can last anywhere from six to eight weeks. For some toddlers, this regression can be difficult and cause them to wake up more often during the night.
It’s important to be patient and continue with the same routine to help your toddler adjust. You can also talk to other parents with relevant experience dealing with sleep regressions in young children.
How Can You Overcome the 18-Month Sleep Regression?
There are a few different ways that parents can overcome the 18-month-old sleep regression.
Here are some things parents can do to help their baby sleep better during the 18-month-old sleep regression:
Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine.
A bedtime routine is one of the best ways to help your baby sleep through the night. A typical bedtime routine will help your child know what to expect and will help them relax and fall asleep more easily.
Some tips for creating a bedtime routine include reading a story, brushing teeth, saying prayers, or singing a lullaby and a warm bath.
Be sure to keep the routine short and sweet so that your child doesn’t get too revved up before bedtime. And stay consistent and don’t make any drastic changes during the adjustment period.
Once your toddler has started sleeping normally again, you can keep the same routine that worked during the regression.
Make Sure Your Child Is Getting Enough Daytime Sleep.
If your child isn’t getting enough sleep during the day, they are more likely to have difficulty sleeping at night. Make sure your child is taking regular naps and getting to bed early enough so that they are well-rested.
Create a Calming Environment at Bedtime.
Make sure the room your child is sleeping in is dark, quiet, and cool. This will help create a relaxing environment that will promote better sleep. Consider using a night light or sound machine to help your child sleep peacefully through the night.
Don’t Give Up Offering Sleep.
Sleep regression, though common at 18 months old, can be overcome with a bit of perseverance. Don’t give up on sleep training, these things may take a little longer than usual but will ultimately pay off. Be consistent with your routine, and keep an eye on your child’s mood and energy levels to ensure that they’re getting enough rest.
Get Outside During the Day
Getting outside during the day can help your toddler sleep better at night. Exposure to natural light helps regulate the body’s internal clock, making it easier for your child to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Additionally, fresh air and exercise can help calm and tire your child out, making bedtime easier. Try to get outside for a walk or run, to the park, or even just sit outside for at least an hour.
Add a Nightlight to the Bedroom.
Adding a nightlight to your toddler’s bedroom can help him sleep better during sleep regression. Nightlights are known to create a calming environment and can help reduce anxiety, which can lead to a better night’s sleep. If your toddler is afraid of the dark, a nightlight can help ease those fears and make bedtime less daunting.
Offer an Extra Nap
One way to help your toddler sleep better during this regression is to offer them an extra nap. This will help them recharge their batteries and make it easier for them to sleep at night. If your toddler usually takes one nap a day, try adding in a second short nap in the afternoon.
Try a Lovey or Comfort Object
During a sleep regression, many toddlers can become very clingy to their parents.
One way to help them feel more secure and ease them into sleep is by trying a lovey or comfort object.
This could be something like a soft blanket, a special teddy bear, a stuffed animal or even just a hug from mom or dad. oftentimes, the familiarity and comfort of these objects can help calm toddlers and help them fall asleep more easily.
When a toddler hits the 18-month sleep regression, it can be tough to get them to sleep through the night. One way to help is to avoid overstimulation before bedtime. This means minimizing noise, light, and activity in the hours leading up to sleep. It may also mean you need to limit screen time and keep bedtime rituals calm and relaxing.
One of the best ways to help your toddler through a sleep regression is by using sleep training. It often involves controlled crying, although not all the time. It helps most toddlers start learning how to self-soothe which is helpful, especially during nighttime awakenings. If you are interested in starting sleep training, read our guide.
Sleep training can also help toddlers get back on track with their sleeping habits by teaching them how to fall asleep on their own. This can be done through a variety of different methods to help your child learn how to fall asleep on their own.
Keep a Positive Attitude
When your child is going through a sleep regression, it can be difficult to remain calm. However, staying calm is key to helping your child through this difficult time of frequent night waking and sleep disturbance.
Staying calm will help you think more clearly and come up with solutions to help your child sleep. It will also help keep your child calm, which will make the regression less difficult for both of you.
You need to have a positive attitude and always remain calm so that you can respond consistently to your toddler’s new sleep behavior.
Conclusion on 18-Month Sleep Regression
Sleep regressions are a common part of toddler development, but that doesn’t mean they have to be endured without any help. There are many things parents can do to make the 18-month sleep regression more manageable and help their toddlers get back on track with their sleep schedule.
By using some or all of the tips we’ve shared in this post, you should be able to see an improvement in your toddler’s sleep habits in no time.
However, if your toddler’s sleep hasn’t improved in over a month, you probably need to talk to sleep consultants on how to help your young children learn the skill of falling asleep and staying asleep at night.
FAQs on 18-Month Sleep Regressions
How to Help Toddlers Overcome Separation Anxiety at Bedtime?
There are a few things parents can do to help toddlers overcome separation anxiety at bedtime.
One is to establish a bedtime routine and stick to it as much as possible. This can help make the child feel more comfortable and secure.
Parents can also reassure their toddlers that they will return soon, and provide a special goodbye ritual such as a hug or kiss.
It is important to be patient and consistent with the child. If parents make an effort to understand and respond to their toddler’s needs, eventually the separation anxiety will lessen.
Bedtime can be a peaceful and enjoyable experience for both parent and child.
How to Manage Sleep Problems From Teething?
If your baby is having trouble sleeping because of teething, there are a few things you can do to help.
Try to keep your baby as comfortable as possible. You can give them a cold object to chew on or freeze some teething rings for them to gnaw on. If your baby is older, you can also try giving them over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If your baby is still having trouble sleeping, you can try placing a warm washcloth on their gums for a few minutes before bedtime.
You can also try rocking or cuddling with your baby before they go to sleep.
If nothing else seems to be working, you may want to consult your doctor about other options and assess your child’s exact health conditions. You can also seek sleep consultations from a professional sleep consultant on ways to improve sleep during teething.
Do Toddlers Have Sleep Cycles?
Sleep cycles are important for everyone, but they are especially important for growing children. They help the body and brain to rest and rejuvenate.
Most adults have a sleep cycle that lasts about 60 minutes. However, sleep cycles can range in length from 20 to 35 minutes for newborns and young infants. As your child grows older, the normal sleep cycle will lengthen to 30 to 45 minutes. And once your child reaches toddlerhood, her sleep cycle extends to approximately 60 minutes.
This article was written by: Gian MIller – Full-Time Writer, Baby Whisperer & Dad of 3.
Gian spends a lot of his time writing. A self-proclaimed baby whisperer, Gian has been through it all with his own children and is passionate about sharing his hard-won wisdom with other parents. When he’s not writing or changing diapers, you can find him playing the guitar or watching baseball (or preferably both at the same time).