Consider the following scenario: you have been gifted with a baby that, by some miracle, sleeps through the whole night. Sure, there may be an odd sleepless night due to teething or an unexpected wake-up, but you have avoided the acute sleep deprivation that seems to befall so many parents.
Some of you may be congratulating yourselves on the back for a job well done, others may be thanking their fortunate stars that they haven’t had to cope with months of little sleep, and yet others may be wondering what all the fuss is about from other parents.
Then something unexpected happens. Your baby grows into a toddler, and by 18 months, your once-comfortable sleeper is either refusing to go to sleep at bedtime, waking up often throughout the night, or both of these things. So, welcome to the 18 month sleep regression period that could be a turmoil for many parents.
But you don’t have to worry because we have compiled this article. As we advance in this article, we will understand what is 18 month sleep regression cycle, what causes it and the best ways to overcome this issue!
What Is 18 Month Sleep Regression?
Although it is a popular misconception that newborns do not sleep, the majority of babies do in fact sleep through the night by the time they are three months old. However, as newborns develop, their sleep habits might shift, and this can result in sleep regression in certain cases.
18 month sleep regression occurs when a child who is generally a good sleeper suddenly refuses to go to sleep, has repeated overnight awakenings, or wakes up in the middle of the night and refuses to go back to sleep, among other things.
Throughout a child’s life, sleep regressions may occur at a variety of different times, most often during periods of fast growth and brain development. This development has the potential to momentarily alter the chemicals in the brain that control sleep.
Because your toddler’s brain is essentially rebooting itself, sleep may be interrupted as a consequence of this process. 18 month sleep regression is typically only transitory in nature, and it may be triggered by a variety of external circumstances. Teething, travel, stress, a change in habit, and illness are all factors that may cause temporary sleep interruptions in toddlers, according to the CDC.
Now we will understand the reason for sleep regression 18 months.
Reasons For 18 Month Sleep Regression
1. Seeking Independence
When youngsters are between the ages of 14 and 18 months, they begin to really settle into toddlerhood. This indicates that kids are starting to push limits and seek their own independence.
Instead of lying down and falling asleep at night, as they may have been doing, they are now actively brainstorming new possibilities! This leads to irritation which is one of the 18 month sleep regression signs.
2. Separation Anxiety
At this age, it is common for children to have increased separation anxiety (in which the act of being separated from a caregiver causes them to feel very distressed). It is normal for children to experience separation anxiety at various stages of their development, with some periods being more severe than others.
As a result, not only may your kid become more clingy, but they may also opt to experiment with refusing to quietly lie down and sleep at this age.
During this time period, the first molars begin to burst through the gums in a few cases. Because of their size, molars may be particularly painful when they first appear. The effect is that youngsters often want extra comfort from their parents, especially before bedtime.
4. Nap Transition
As if things weren’t complicated enough, it’s also at this time when most youngsters stop taking a mid-day nap and instead take one in the afternoon. As youngsters get used to being up for extended lengths of time, they are often exhausted by the time they go to bed.
This may result in a spike in the stress hormone cortisol, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep and remain asleep for extended periods of time. This disturbs the sleep schedule for 18 months old.
Is 18 Month Sleep Regression Common Among Kids?
Many children do not have a sleep regression until they are 18 months old. Because every child’s sleep habits develop in a unique way, toddlers may have difficulties before or after the 18-month milestone.
Many children as young as 18 months of age may exhibit significant improvement in their sleep quality. It is thus preferable to think of sleep regressions as stages that may occur at any moment in a kid’s development rather than as something that is destined to occur for every child at a given point in time.
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Sleep Regression: Disrupting The 18 Month Old Sleep Schedule
However, the 18-month sleep regression may be particularly tough and tiresome for one simple reason: there is a discipline component to this regression that was absent from the previous ones.
Your baby’s independence-seeking behaviour had nothing to do with the prior regressions, but this one has everything to do with it. Parenting is often more difficult when one is sleep-deprived.
When you factor in the fact that your 18-month-old is likely to begin throwing temper tantrums and displaying a wide range of difficult behaviour as he pushes for independence, parenting may feel plain hard! The strain of coping with your toddler’s misbehaviour adds to the tiredness you’re already experiencing.
This combination of factors may end up having an impact on one another. The stubbornness of your toddler’s conduct might cause him to reject naps or to yell for you each time he wakes up in the middle of the night.
And, of course, the lack of sleep produced by this regression might make your child grumpy, which can lead to more tantrums and more temper tantrums as a result of this regression.
How To Get 18 Month Old To Sleep Through The Night
The objective is to maintain consistency. Sleep deprivation causes the brain of your kid to retrain itself in the processes of going to sleep, staying asleep, and returning to sleep throughout times of nightly waking.
It may be beneficial to remember that sleep regression is a transient condition. If your 18-month-old child suddenly begins waking up at all hours of the night or refuses to sleep at all, it does not necessarily imply that all hope is gone and that you will never be able to sleep again.
1. Consistency Is The Key
The most important thing you can do to help your child through his or her sleep regression is to maintain consistency in your bedtime routine and nocturnal behaviour. Keep in mind that your child is going through a difficult and potentially stressful period as well.
Continually practise your usual bedtime routine, such as bath and storytime or a special blanket or stuffed animal cuddling time,6 to alert your child that it is time to prepare for sleep. The idea is to establish and adhere to a straightforward, predictable nighttime routine that does not alter over time.
2. Stay Calm
When coping with your toddler’s sleep regressions, it’s crucial to maintain your composure as well as consistency. Maintain consistency in your message: When it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep. Comfort your kid, comfort him or her, and then repeat the process as many times as needed.
The amount of comfort that each parent has in dealing with overnight awakenings varies from person to person. For example, some parents may believe in co-sleeping, while others may choose to encourage their kids to sleep on their own throughout the night.
Just keep in mind that any approach you adopt to get your child through a sleep regression may be something he or she will wish to maintain. Consequently, if co-sleeping is not something you want to do in the long run, refrain from adopting it as a short-term option to assist your kid is sleeping.
3. Consult A Therapist
Only a therapist can tell how much sleep an 18 month old needs. Using the services of a sleep consultant or expert is not something reserved for celebrities exclusively. Many families have benefitted from the assistance of outside specialists who have been able to assist them in getting the rest they all need.
The reality is that learning to sleep is a skill, and skills, even in toddlers, must be taught and learnt at certain points in their lives.
4. Restrict Screen Time
If your toddler is having difficulties going asleep and/or staying asleep, evaluate whether screen usage may be a contributing factor to the problem. Avoid using screens for at least two hours before sleep, and don’t have a television in your child’s room.
Length Of 18 Month Sleep Regression
There is no scientific evidence to support the 18-month sleep regression, and there is no established schedule for how long it will endure. Many parents and caregivers report that their situation improves within a few days to a few weeks.
Some parents believe that the 18-month sleep regression represents a permanent shift in their child’s sleep patterns. The youngster may skip a nap, stay up longer, or sleep in later in the morning depending on his or her schedule.
Even in the case of persistent alterations, however, sleep tends to improve with time as the body adjusts.
Concluding Our Take On 18 Month Sleep Regression
It’s important to remember that the 18-month sleep regression is a period that lasts for an average of 3-6 weeks. And, although it may seem like an eternity when you’re going through it, and it may make you feel even more insecure as a parent, it won’t endure indefinitely.
You should be as patient as possible while your baby goes through the 18-month regression. If your baby generally sleeps well and you are convinced that her sudden restlessness is related to the regression, then you should wait it out.