18 Month Old Sleep Regression

Last Updated on September 28, 2023

chelsey borson baby sleep consultant
Chelsey Borson
Certified Baby Sleep Consultant
baby in bed with text overlay 18 month old sleep regression

You're awoken one night by your toddler's ear-piercing cries. Thinking it's a one-off moment, you try your best to soothe them and get them back to sleep. Could it be the 18 month sleep regression? To your dismay, this same scenario continues for numerous nights in a row. Now, you're at your wit's end, desperately seeking an escape from this seemingly endless nightmare. Sound like you? Read on!

If you're a first-time parent or even a parent who is navigating this phase once again, fear not. As a baby sleep coach, I'm here to help you navigate the tricky world of the 18-month sleep regression. Below is a brief overview of what you need to know about sleep regression during this age. For personalized solutions, please contact me.

What to Expect in 18-Month Sleep Regression?

Parents often wonder what to expect when their 18-month-old enters the realm of sleep regression. It’s essential to remember that sleep regressions are part of a child’s development, signifying cognitive and emotional growth. During the 18-month sleep regression, parents can anticipate several changes in their child’s sleep patterns and behavior.

First, your little one might start to resist bedtime, making it a nightly battle to get them to sleep. This is often due to newfound independence and a desire to explore their surroundings. They may also experience more frequent night wakings, seeking comfort and reassurance during the night. Separation anxiety can play a significant role during this period, causing your child to wake up and cry for you.

Another common aspect of the 18-month sleep regression is changes in nap patterns. Your toddler may start to resist naps or experience shorter naps during the day. Toddlers at this age may also be switching from a 2 nap schedule to a 1 nap schedule, if they haven't already.

While these changes can be challenging, it's essential to maintain healthy sleep habits and a consistent bedtime routine. This will help create a sense of security and predictability for your child, even during this regression.

Knowing what to expect during this phase can ease your concerns, and remember, you're not alone. Many parents face similar challenges during the 18-month sleep regression.

Why do Babies have Sleep Regressions at 18 Months Old?

Parents often wonder why their 18-month-old toddlers suddenly experience sleep regressions. These regressions can be attributed to several factors that are integral to a toddler's development.

Firstly, an 18-month-old is going through a phase of rapid growth and cognitive development. This can lead to increased nighttime awakenings as their brains are more active during sleep. Additionally, separation anxiety can peak at this age, making your toddler more sensitive to being away from you during the night.

Changes in sleep patterns can also contribute. Toddlers may start resisting naps, leading to overtiredness at bedtime, which can disrupt their overnight sleep.

A disrupted sleep schedule or inconsistency in sleep routines can also play a role. Toddlers thrive on routine, and any deviations can impact the quality and duration of their sleep.

It's important to note that while these regressions can be challenging for both toddlers and parents, they are usually temporary and indicative of developmental milestones. Understanding the reasons behind them can provide reassurance.

Time Length of 18 Month Sleep Regression

The duration of 18-month sleep regression can vary significantly among infants. Several factors may influence the length of this regression.

Firstly, the individual temperament of your child plays a crucial role. Some toddlers might adapt to changes more quickly, while others may struggle with sleep disruptions for an extended period.

The presence of established sleep routines also matters. Toddlers with consistent bedtime and naptime routines tend to navigate through regressions quicker and smoother.

On average, 18-month sleep regressions can last anywhere from two to six weeks. For parents facing persistent sleep challenges during this regression, seeking guidance from a baby sleep consulting company can be invaluable.

Tips for Surviving 18 Month Sleep Regression

When faced with 18-month sleep regression, there are several strategies to help both your toddler and you get through this challenging period.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine: A regular schedule for naps and bedtime can provide comfort to your toddler and improve nighttime sleep.

  • Consider adjusting the bedtime: You may want to move bedtime earlier to ensure your toddler gets enough nighttime sleep, which can reduce nighttime wakings.

  • Limit daytime naps: Limit daytime sleep to an appropriate length to prevent them from interfering with nighttime sleep.

  • Create a calm and soothing bedtime: A consistent bedtime routine can signal to your toddler that it's time to sleep. This can include activities like reading a book or taking a warm bath.

  • Implement sleep training techniques: Gradual methods, like the Ferber method, can teach your toddler to fall asleep independently.

  • Incorporate early waking prevention strategies: Taking measures to make sure the sleep environment is conducive to sleep, like a dark and quiet room, can ensure longer sleep and prevent early morning wakings.

It's important to remember that every child is unique, and what works best for one may not work for another. If you find yourself struggling with your toddler's sleep, consider consulting with a sleep specialist. They can provide personalized guidance and support to help improve your child's sleep habits and ensure that both you and your toddler enjoy better-quality sleep.

18 Month Old Sleep Regression FAQs

Whether you're concerned about how much sleep is enough for your 18-month-old or seeking guidance on what to do to ensure they have restful nights, your nationwide and Los Angeles baby sleep consulting expert is here to answer your queries.

We've gathered all the most commonly asked questions, providing you with an overview of what to do and what to anticipate.

Do All 18-Month-Old Babies Have Sleep Regression?

No, not all 18-month-olds will experience sleep regression. Sleep regression is more common during certain developmental stages, but it doesn't affect every child at the same time or in the same way. Each toddler is unique, and research shows factors like temperament and daily routines can influence whether they experience sleep problems

If you're concerned about your toddler's sleep problems, it's never too late to seek guidance. Consulting with your toddler's pediatrician or a sleep specialist can help identify the underlying issues and provide strategies for better sleep.

When to Expect Recovery from 18-Month Sleep Regression?

You can typically expect recovery from toddler sleep regression within a few weeks or so. While it might feel like a long journey, especially when your little one isn't getting the sleep they need, remember that consistency in your sleep training efforts will pay off.

By staying engaged, adjusting awake times, and addressing factors like teething or developmental milestones, you'll help diminish the effects and potentially shorten the duration of this phase Your baby will be back to sleeping through the night in no time.

Can a Parent Prepare for 18-Month Sleep Regression?

Yes, a parent can prepare for the 18-month sleep regression. By establishing a consistent bedtime routine and addressing separation anxiety during daytime wake hours, you can help your child adapt to this phase more smoothly. Age appropriate baby play may also help.

Reducing screen time before bed and encouraging healthy sleep habits can also contribute to better sleep. Remember, while you can prepare, each child is unique, so staying flexible and patient is key during this adjustment period.

Is the 18 Month's Sleep Regression Preventable?

No, it's not preventable. However, there are ways where you can mitigate the impact that it may have on your newborn child. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and introducing comforting routines like a stuffed animal can help ease the transition.

While it can't be entirely prevented, maintaining healthy sleep habits is crucial for your child's overall development and well-being.

Can Sleep Training Occur during 18-Month Sleep Regressions?

Yes, sleep training can help with sleep regressions among 18-month-old toddlers. Establishing an 18 month old sleep schedule and staying consistent with sleep training methods can significantly improve your child's sleep habits. Research shows that developing these routines and addressing any new habits or anxieties can lead to better sleep for both parents and infants.

Will All 18-Month-Old Babies Have a Sleep Regression?

No, not all 18-month-olds will experience sleep regression. While the chances may not be as high as in some other age groups, it's still possible. Factors like sleep training, nap patterns, and consistency in routines can influence whether your child goes through this phase. Inquire here to chat with a baby sleep expert.

Why is my 18-month-old Baby Not Sleeping?

Many factors can contribute to your 18-month-old's sleep regression. Changes in nap times or altogether skipping naps, staying awake at night, and being unable to fall asleep are common issues.

Staying consistent with bedtime routines and addressing these issues promptly can help improve your child's sleep. A structured sleep schedule (e.g. 17-month-old sleep schedule) is key to solving sleep challenges in toddlers.

What are the Signs of an 18-month Sleep Regression?

There are a few signs that can indicate an 18-month sleep regression. Your toddler may start staying awake at night, resisting their usual nap times, and taking longer to fall asleep. Staying calm and consistent with bedtime routines is essential. If you notice these signs in your child, consulting with a sleep specialist can help verify the regression and find solutions.

Contact me to find out how we can help your little one sleep better today!

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chelsey borson baby sleep consultant

Chelsey Borson

Owner & Certified Baby Sleep Consultant

Hi, I'm the founder of Luna Leaps. As a certified sleep consultant with the Institute of Pediatric Sleep and Parenting, I bring expertise and compassion to helping families establish healthy sleep habits. As a mom of two, including one with special needs, I understand the struggles of sleepless nights and the toll it can take on the whole family. But with a personalized plan tailored to your child's unique needs, we can work together to improve sleep and overall well-being. Let's start this journey towards better sleep together.

luna leaps baby sleep consulting logo in white
At Luna Leaps,  we're committed to helping your family achieve better sleep. Our expert baby sleep consultants provide personalized solutions to help your little one establish healthy sleep habits and wake up feeling refreshed.


Located in Los Angeles, CA and helping families nationwide.

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