Your adorable toddler, who has had a peaceful night’s sleep for months, suddenly awakens frequently at night and crying. Your child has had long naps throughout the day but now starts resisting the time to sleep, refusing to sleep and sleep. Are you familiar with this? You might be experiencing the 18-month sleep regression.

If you’re the parents of a child, sleep regressions are something that you’ve likely experienced. After all, you’ve likely been through the following sleep regressions:

  • Regression of 4 Months Sleep
  • Sleep regression 8/9/10 months
  • 12-month sleep regression.

If that’s not enough you’re looking for, there’s a 2-year sleep regression also!

What’re stressed parents to do? This article will provide an overview of the way that an 18-month regression appears the reasons it occurs and why it is one of the toughest things to endure, and what ways to make it through it.

18 month Sleep Regression
18-month Sleep Regression

18 Month Sleep Regression Background: What is a “Sleep Regression” Anyway?

The majority of people consider sleep regression to refer to a baby or toddler, who’s asleep well and is now waking up frequently (often without warning) wakes up often at night, and/or refuses a nap throughout the daytime. The regressions typically last for a certain duration (anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks) before the child’s sleep pattern returns to normal routines. Sleep regressions for toddlers can be more challenging because toddlers can be louder and more permanent.

18 Month Sleep Regression: Causes and Why 18 Months?

Each sleep regression could be related to the baby’s mental as well as physical growth at the age. It’s the same for the regression of 18 months. Young children aged 18 months experience a variety of developmental milestones that could adversely affect their sleep. As with any sleep regression, this one could begin as early as 17 months or even as late as 20 or 19 months old. Each child’s development is based according on their individual schedule.

  • Teeth might be at fault. When they reach 18 months old, children are cutting their canine teeth, as well as the third molars they’ve been developing. This may cause discomfort and causes sleep disturbances.
  • Separation anxiety is an issue in toddlers as young as the age of 18 months. Most infants begin to experience separation anxiety at around 7 or 8 months. For most infants, the stress is most severe between the ages of 10-18 months. This could cause disruption to sleep, too. your toddler may be resistant to napping because he is afraid to be left alone with you, or wake up at night and become unhappy that you’re not present in his room.
  • 18-month-olds are developing a lot of independence and are now able to perform more on their own. Children at this age are beginning to eat by using spoons or drink from a cup or build using blocks and even remove some clothes. The increasing independence may result in a more determined will that means that a baby could begin exerting herself whenever she isn’t wanting to go to bed or stay in the bed.
  • In my more than 10 years as a sleep expert I have observed that children start to become hungry in the evening, and then often. It is possible to think about whether your meals should be more substantial or whether you’ll need snacks before bed. Toddlers of in this stage, are incredibly active!
  • Schedules often change with age, as well. While the majority of toddlers are asleep for five hours after waking up but there are some who can stay awake longer. Make sure you check a couple pages of Toddler schedules to make sure that you have the correct one for your child.

18 Month Sleep Regression: Why It’s One Of The Hardest Sleep Regressions Of All

Each sleep regression can be challenging and exhausting, however, the one for 18 months can be the most difficult because of one reason: there’s a disciplinary element in this one that was not present in previous ones. The prior regressions didn’t have any connection with independence-seeking behavior on the part of your child however this one does.

Sleep deprivation always makes parenting more difficult. Take into consideration that your child’s 18 months old is likely getting ready to start throwing temper tantrums and display a variety of difficult behavior as he tries to establish his own independence, and parenting may seem like a nightmare! The pressure of dealing with your toddler’s behavior adds to the fatigue you’re already experiencing.

Furthermore, the two factors (your toddler’s increased sleeplessness as well as your toddler’s more difficult behavior) may influence the other. Your toddler’s impulsive behavior could result in him refusing to take nap time or to scream at you every when he gets up at night. Of course the inability to sleep that this regression causes will make your toddler unhappy, leading to more tantrums and broader anger.

18 Month Sleep Regression Tips

  • Take a deep breath! The more calm and relaxed you are, the more relaxed and more likely your child will be.
  • Block screen-time. If you allow your toddler to be glued to TV, YouTube videos, etc. It is best to avoid to do so during the last one or two hours of their day, and prior to nap(s). Be sure to not show anything on screens when they’re sleeping in their crib in bed with their toddler.
  • Stay with the basics for their routine at bedtime. It’s not necessary to get extravagant. The objective isn’t to cause additional distractions during sleeping. Once a routine has been established, be sure to adhere to it regularly.
  • Do not make big changes. This is not the right time to begin toilet training or experimenting with the latest big kid bed. Make it a simple process until the sleep cycle is reestablished.

Should You Keep the Nap?

If your baby is particularly intolerant of napping in the 18-month regression to sleep may be you’re tempted to stop the nap completely. It’s a good idea to make sure you do not. The majority of toddlers don’t stop taking their naps until they’re between the ages of three to four, so don’t quit now!

Should You Stop Sleep Training?

If you’re currently in the middle of training for sleep when the 18-month sleep regression begins to take hold you might be wondering whether you should go to sleep for a few months. We suggest that you don’t. Your toddler should be able to sleep in a way that is as independent as they can. If your toddler awakes in the middle of their sleep, then they need to be able to fall into sleep as completely as they can also.

It’s true that training your child to sleep will not yield spectacular results in this phase however, you don’t want to encourage bad sleeping habits during an age that’s short-lived. Like we advise many families that it’s not a good idea to create or sustain habitual patterns for the duration of a brief period.

Rely on the older sleep coaching methods If necessary. If you’ve successfully coached previously, you can try using older sleep coaching methods to help you get through this phase. Techniques to coach sleep like fading, check-and-console, or crying it out will aid you in surviving the sleep regression of 18 months without reverting to routines from the past.

18 Month Sleep Regression Conclusion

Be aware that the 18-month sleep regression phase lasts for about 3-6 weeks on average. While it may seem like an eternity while you’re going through it and could make you feel less at ease as a parent, it’s unlikely to be a continuous process. If your baby usually is sleeping well and you are certain that the recent lack of sleep is the result of an 18-month regression, take your time, and just wait for it to pass.


You can do it, just like you did it with your child’s sleep regressions at 8 and 4 months. You can get back on track if you keep your routines and sleep times consistent.

This is a great opportunity to get that expensive coffeemaker on your wishlist!

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