18 Month Sleep Regression

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

By now you are probably used to these phases of sleep disruption, but that doesn’t make it any easier when you hit yet another sleep regression.

Here’s a little bit on what is happening during the 18 month sleep regression.

At 18 months our little ones go through more physical and cognitive development. They are becoming more active and working on their coordination. You may also notice a huge explosion in their language around this age. They can also go through another stage of separation anxiety and often their molars start to make an appearance. All this growth and development can have a serious impact on their sleep.

This regression usually sees your toddler reverting back to catnapping, resisting bedtime or waking frequently or having extended wakeful periods overnight.

Tips for getting through this regression

  • Look at their diet - with being so active, making sure they are eating enough protein, low GI carbohydrates and healthy fats will ensure they aren’t getting hungry and have enough energy throughout the day.

Find out more about how nutrition can affect sleep.

  • Avoid re-introducing or creating new sleep habits – It’s important to try to stick to their routine as closely as possible without starting any habits that you don’t wish to continue into the future.

  • As separation anxiety could be playing a role, they may be needing more comfort. Offer them a lovey, or if needed you may want to sit with them while they fall asleep, but that doesn’t mean you need to assist them all the way to sleep. If they were previous settling themselves to sleep, they haven’t lost this skill.

  • Don’t rush straight in – if they start to whinge when you leave the room, give them 10 minutes before going in. They may just be protesting and need to be given a little space to work things out on their own.

  • Teething – teething pain can interrupt sleep, but usually only for the few days around the tooth erupting. Monitor your toddler’s behaviour during the day, if they don’t seem bothered by teething pain while awake, then it’s unlikely to be causing their wake ups at night.

  • Routine – Some toddlers may have only recently dropped down to one nap a day, this results in them needing to adjust to their new routine. If they have been on one nap for a while, this regression is not a sign that they are ready to drop naps all together. Ensure their nap is in the middle of the day and that bedtime isn’t too late so they aren’t becoming over tired. Keep your bedtime rituals the same but don’t draw it out too long.

More on toddler bedtime battles here, and what to expect during the 2 year regression.

One on one consultations and downloadable sleep guides are all available online x

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