How to Help Your Toddler with 18-Month Sleep Regression: Guide & Helpful Tips
The Main Point: At around 18 months, many toddlers go through a significant sleep regression, which can be a challenging time for both the child and the parents.
Understanding the causes of 18-month sleep regression in toddlers and implementing expert-recommended strategies can help ease this transitional phase for parents and children alike.
Why it matters for YOU: The 18-month sleep regression is not just a passing phase but marks a pivotal point in your toddler’s development. It's essential to understand and navigate this phase to ensure healthy sleep habits for your little one.
- Stat Line: Did you know? Most toddlers at 18 months begin to show signs of separation anxiety, become more aware of their surroundings, and hit multiple developmental milestones, all of which can impact their sleep.
- Quotable: "I like to encourage caregivers to think of this [time] as a 'sleep progression' versus a 'sleep regression,'" says Tyanna Snider, a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital. She continues, "Your child is developing, growing, and changing in many ways, and this includes sleep."
- But how...? During this phase, toddlers are starting to walk, talk, and assert independence. Along with a shift from two naps per day to one, these changes can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, making nights restless.
- And why...? The regression is tied to both physical and emotional changes in a toddler's life, such as increased mobility, separation anxiety, and a changing nap schedule. This is a standard part of their developmental journey, although it can present challenges.
- Analogy: Imagine for a moment trying to read a book on an extremely complicated subject while loud music plays — and the whole time, you're also walking on a balance beam. That's similar to the sensory and developmental overload toddlers face during the 18-month sleep regression. It's an incredibly challenging dance of growth and adjustment.
- One-Sentence Summary: The 18-month sleep regression in toddlers is a critical developmental phase, marked by bedtime resistance and night awakenings, but with patience and the right strategies, it can be navigated successfully.
Case in point: While research on this phenomenon is scarce, countless parents report increased bedtime battles and nightmares around the 18-month mark. This sleep regression is due to heightened awareness, developmental milestones, and sometimes separation anxiety.
- For the skeptics: While every child is unique, the phenomenon of 18-month sleep regression is consistent across toddlers, making it a widely recognized developmental stage rather than an isolated occurrence.
What to do: Consider a few steps to facilitate an easier transition for your toddler and yourself if/when they experience sleep regression.
- Consistency in their bedtime schedule helps in creating a sense of security for your child, and reducing daytime sleep can lead to better sleep at night as well.
- A sleep-friendly ambiance can significantly improve the quality of your child's sleep, such as the use of white noise machines.
- Calming activities (and consistency in those activities) before bed can prepare your toddler for a peaceful night's sleep.
Next steps: Visit us at SLEEP365® in the Bay Area and surrounding areas for luxe-casual organic latex mattresses to get a great night’s sleep every single night for you and your family. Click here to see all our locations and find the one nearest you, or click here to schedule a Virtual Visit from home.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Always consult a physician or medical professional when making decisions that affect your own or your family’s health and well-being.