Sleep Regression Stages: Its Causes And Solutions 

Sleep Regression Stages is characterized by frequent night awakenings, difficulty in falling asleep, and shorter naps. 

Also, sleep regression stages align with significant developmental milestones in a baby’s life, including physical growth, cognitive leaps, and motor skills development.

Moreover, parents notice these sleep regressions around specific ages in babies such as at 4 months, 6 months, and the toddler age, including the 10-month sleep regression, 11 Months Sleep Regression, 13 Month Sleep Regression, 15-month sleep regression, 16-month sleep regression, 20 Months Sleep Regression and even up to 24 Month Sleep Regression.

Signs Of Sleep Regression

Signs of sleep regression in infants and toddlers are critical for parents and caregivers to recognize, as they indicate changes in sleep patterns that require adjustments in care strategies.

These sleep regression include:

baby in a sleep regression stage

Increased Fussiness: Children may become more irritable or fussy, especially around their usual sleep times.

Frequent Night Awakenings: Babies and toddlers may start waking up more often during the night, disrupting their previously established sleep routines.

Resistance to Naps: There may be a noticeable reluctance or resistance to taking naps, even if the child previously had a consistent nap schedule.

Difficulty Falling Asleep: Children might find it harder to fall asleep at bedtime or after waking up in the middle of the night, often due to overstimulation or anxiety.

Changes in Appetite and Behavior: Alongside sleep disturbances, there might be noticeable shifts in eating habits and overall child behavior during the day.

Preference for Parental Proximity: Especially at night, children may show a stronger desire to be close to their parents or primary caregivers, often driven by separation anxiety or developmental milestones.

Shorter or Skipped Naps: The duration and quality of naps can change, with children napping for shorter periods or skipping naps altogether, further affecting their nighttime sleep patterns.

Also, these signs can be little different in different sleep regression ages.

What Causes Sleep Regressions in Babies?

Sleep regressions often coincide with periods of rapid development, making it a natural part of a baby’s growth.

This can include physical milestones like crawling or psychological developments such as separation anxiety. Factors like teething, illness, and changes in routine can also trigger sleep disruptions.

While the underlying causes vary, recognizing these triggers can help parents better navigate these challenging periods.

Also, babies for the first three months or so spend a lot of their time asleep, drowsy, in their own dreamy little worlds.

Around three months, they start to become more alert, and aware of their surroundings. In the West, people are advised to have their babies on a separate sleep surface.

Now by nature human babies are very vulnerable, and need to be close to an adult human, are biologically wired to need this.

So, imagine you are a tiny little human baby, whose instincts to survive tell you you must be with another human, and you stir in your sleep, and you realise oh my god, you’re alone, no one is there, you’re on your own.

Also, of course you wake, and you cry, hoping your mother who seems to have accidentally left you on your own, will hear and come back and get you.

You get boob, you calm down, feeling her warm skin next to you, and you gradually drift off to sleep again.

But then next thing you now, there you are again, on your own! You can’t feel your mother next to you, you can’t even smell her near you. So you cry again.

And then when she comes back, you’re comforted back to sleep, but not long after, you stir again. And so on, repeating again.

External Sleep Regression Stages

External factors in different Sleep Regression ages, including teething, illness, or travel, can significantly disrupt a baby’s sleep patterns, initiating stages of sleep regression that vary in duration and intensity.

The onset of teething can cause discomfort and pain, making it difficult for infants to settle down and sleep peacefully. Illnesses, even minor ones like colds, can alter sleep habits due to discomfort, difficulty breathing, or a disrupted routine.

Travel introduces a change in environment and routine, potentially leading to unfamiliar surroundings that can unsettle a baby’s sense of security at bedtime.

Also, identifying these external triggers is essential for parents. This knowledge allows them to modify their approaches for better child support.

They might offer additional comfort during teething phases or create a soothing space when the child is sick.

Additionally, keeping bedtime routines as consistent as possible during travels helps reduce disruptions to their child’s sleep.

Solutions For Managing Sleep Regression

Staying up late into the night playing with your baby might not be the best approach in the long term. Also, reintroducing nighttime feedings at this stage might not be necessary.

I’ve been there and did offer night feedings, but I had to gradually stop this habit once my baby was over 12 months old.

Instead, it’s better to create a calm, quiet, and dark environment to soothe your baby, reinforcing the idea that it’s still time to sleep, just like the rest of the world.

Every baby is unique, and you’ll eventually figure out the best way to calm and settle your baby back to sleep quickly, ideally within a few minutes to half an hour.

This approach will help the sleep regression phase pass more swiftly, sometimes in just a few days or over a couple of weeks.

It’s also worth noting that many babies don’t start sleeping through the night until they’re a year old or even older, especially those who are accustomed to breastfeeding at night.

So, experiencing some sleep disruptions at this age is quite normal.

Moreover, the key to managing this phase is patience and consistency. Additionally, understanding that this is a temporary and normal part of your baby’s development is crucial.

Do All Babies Have Sleep Regressions?

Not all babies experience sleep regressions to the same extent. While most will go through periods of sleep disruption, the severity and duration can vary widely.

Understanding that these regressions are a common part of development can reassure parents navigating these challenges.


Sleep regressions are a deeply challenging yet entirely normal part of infancy and toddlerhood. They lead to significant disruptions in a child’s sleep patterns.

These disruptions are often caused by important developmental milestones, the discomfort of teething, illness, or minor changes in daily routines. Recognizing this helps in understanding and navigating through these phases.

Furthermore, these periods are characterized by clear signs such as increased fussiness and countless awakenings at night. There’s also a noticeable resistance to naps, which were once comforting.

Understanding the subtle signs and triggers of sleep regression enables parents to lovingly adapt their care strategies. They aim to create a calm and stable environment for sleep.

Also, the experience of sleep regressions varies widely and is unpredictable. The duration and intensity differ from one child to another.

This situation demands immense patience and a customized approach. It’s essential to address the unique needs of each child.

So, accepting the temporary nature of these regressions with open hearts and minds is crucial. It enables parents to handle this challenging phase gracefully.

This approach paves the path to a calm return to regular sleep patterns. Ultimately, it benefits both the child and the exhausted parents seeking peace.


How do you know sleep regression is over?

Sleep regression ends as your child’s sleep patterns begin to stabilize. This includes consistent nighttime rest and regular naps. The frequent awakenings and prolonged fussiness that characterized the regression period start to diminish. It signals a return to more predictable sleeping habits.

What not to do during sleep regression?

During sleep regression, avoid introducing new habits like extra feedings or rocking to sleep, as these can become hard-to-break associations. Also, resist the urge to drastically change bedtime routines, which can add to the confusion and prolong the regression phase.

What age is the biggest sleep regression?

The most notable sleep regression usually happens at about 4 months old. At this time, infants undergo major changes in their sleep cycles and patterns. This marks an important developmental milestone. These changes can greatly affect their sleep habits and overall rest during the night.

Is it OK to hold baby during sleep regression?

It’s okay to comfort your baby during sleep regression, but avoid creating dependencies on being held to sleep. Encourage self-soothing by providing a calm sleep environment and consistent bedtime routines, fostering healthy sleep habits in the long run.

Does sleep regression end naturally?

Yes, sleep regression typically ends naturally as the underlying developmental changes or external factors resolve. With time and consistent parenting strategies, most babies gradually return to more stable sleep patterns, marking the conclusion of the regression phase.

Do adults go through sleep regression?

Yes, adults can experience periods that might resemble sleep regression, although it’s less commonly referred to by that term. Just like in children, adults’ sleep patterns can be disrupted by stress, changes in their environment, shifts in their routine, or significant life events. These disruptions can lead to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restful sleep. The concept of sleep regression is often associated with children. However, adults can also experience periods of poor sleep quality. During these times, their rest may not be as restorative as usual. Eventually, their sleep patterns return to normal.

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One Comment

  1. I do agree with all the ideas you have introduced on your post They are very convincing and will definitely work Still the posts are very short for newbies May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent time Thank you for the post

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