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Sleep Regression: Frequently Asked Questions

by Chris on 10/12/2010

Over a year ago I wrote a post about Little Miss’ bout of sleep regression. Since then it has become the highest searched topic on my blog. Due to its popularity, I decided to write up a list of frequently asked questions as a better way to explain the term sleep regression.

Bedtime Sleep Regression: Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is sleep regression?

Basically, sleep regression is when your baby or toddler’s sleeping pattern becomes worse despite a normal bedtime routine. A baby who has been sleeping through the night for weeks might begin waking up multiple times per night or show a general distaste for bedtime. So if nothing has changed drastically in the past week and your once good sleeper is waking up at night, he or she is probably experiencing a sleep regression.

When does it happen?

Sleep regressions tend to happen at distinct ages and developmental stages. Generally speaking, this around the ages of:

Every baby is different so your child may experience a sleep regression earlier or later. Use the above list as a general guideline.

What causes sleep regressions?

There are many factors that can cause sleeping problems. The most popular factors can be a mixture of the following:

  • Illness
  • Growth spurt
  • Teething
  • Changes in room temperature (Is it too hot or too cold?)
  • Developmental milestones (learning to sit up, roll, or crawl for example.)

How can I help?

The first step to dealing with a sleep regression, is determining what the problem actually is. Your job is to rule out the causes until the culprit is found. Start by kicking your investigation skills into gear.

  • If you suspect an illness, have your baby seen by a doctor to rule out any infections they could be harboring.
  • If your baby becomes a bottomless pit and is constantly eating, he or she could be in the middle of a growth spurt. Try to get him or her to eat more during the day to help get rid of the night time hunger pangs.
  • Teething is never fun. Sometimes a dose of Advil is all that is needed.
  • Adjust the thermostat.
  • When your baby reaches a development milestone. (Rolling for example) Try to give him or her plenty of time during the day to practice. This should help deter any late night shenanigans.

Most sleeping problems will correct themselves over time. But by knowing the problem, you can attempt to speed up the process.

Will it ever end?!

Yes! There is light at the end of the tunnel. It may take days or weeks to return to normal, but it’ll happen. Stock up on coffee.

Photo courtesy of: Vetto

{ 2 comments }

Keith Wilcox December 16, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Now that you mention it, I remember this happening to both of my boys. They both went from sleeping well through the night to waking up waaaay too early (and not going back to bed). You’re also right that it gets better. I guess the fact that I didn’t even remember it until you brought it up is evidence of that! :-)
Keith Wilcox recently posted..The Best Road Trip Albums

Chris December 16, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Little Miss hit every sleep regression on the nose. I remember the first time we were looking online to figure out what was wrong and sure enough she was 3 weeks to the day. That pretty much continued to her first birthday!
Chris recently posted..Sleep Regression- Frequently Asked Questions

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