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16 Month Sleep Regression

Features of the development of a child at 1 year and 4 months can lead to some sleep disorders. A child at this age becomes very mobile, restless, and active. He grows and develops at his own pace, mastering new skills and abilities.

Children at 16 months walk well, climb onto a chair, sofa or bed, and they can safely get off them. Brain activity is also actively developing.

All these changes in development bring the baby closer to the one-and-a-half-year milestone and new serious sleep regression. There are no major disturbances in the daily routine. Development goes on as usual, without jumps and strong breakthroughs.

Symptoms of Sleep Regression

From a year to a year and a half is a period of slight calm. Only minor and very short disturbances may occur. They will most often be associated with poorly organized sleep and wakefulness.

  • Frequent need for tactile contact
  • Capriciousness
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Sleep protests
  • Naps disappear
  • Discontinuity of night sleeps

All of the listed symptoms are optional for 16 sleep regression. Sometimes they are completely absent or they are partial. The presence of regression at this age is not a mandatory norm. Many children safely survive this period without serious sleep disturbances.

Any deviations from the norm of the usual sleep pattern must be justified. Often the cause may not be sleep regression.

Does Every Child Have Regression?

Sleep regression for parents is a negative phenomenon. Its symptoms greatly interfere with the general daily routine in the family and entail chronic fatigue and loss of resources. Understanding that this is not a deviation from the norm, but a completely natural process greatly facilitates the situation.

Don’t assume that sleep disturbances are only for your child. Every child experiences sleep regression at various stages of their lives up to 2 years of age. It belongs to absolutely everyone. Regression differs in age limits and duration of symptoms.

Sleep regression can be called the body’s response to jumps in growth and development. This is the period when the child is trying to get used to new skills and abilities.

Night and Nap Changes During 16 Month Sleep Regression

Children under the age of 3 need a lot of sleep. The motor activity of the child increases at 16 months. It can cause physical fatigue. The baby needs good and quality sleep both day and night.

The daily norm of sleep at this age is about 13.5 hours. Daytime naps should take about 1.5-2 hours. Night sleep is given 11-12 hours but most often 10.

Daily sleep norms can be markedly reduced in the presence of sleep regression at this age. This is due to violations of the daily routine. Daytime sleep shifts or may disappear.

The time of laying down at night is shifted during the period of sleep disturbances at 16 months. Going to sleep late at night can cause severe fatigue. The child begins to actively wake up before going to bed, delay falling asleep, and wake up late in the morning. The accumulated fatigue makes the process closed and requires considerable effort to restore the daily routine.

Development Changes That Cause Sleep Regression at 16 Month

Many developmental changes in children directly affect the quality of sleep. Such situations at 16 months are due to both physical achievements and changes in the psycho-emotional sphere.

The child never stops in development, changing only the pace and periods of great progress. Let’s consider several examples to understand exactly what developmental features affect 16 month sleep regression:

1. Constantly on the move

It will not be possible to keep the baby in place at 16 months. He is interested in absolutely everything that surrounds him. It is impossible to stop this running mechanism because the child is armed with good walking skills.

Children of this age period already run, jump, climb obstacles and successfully overcome them. They know what they need to get right now, where to go, and which doors to open. They just don’t like to sit still. Their cognitive activity is directly related to motor activity. The child will quickly get tired if he is not given enough rest. This can cause interruptions in sleep mode.

2. Awareness of desires

Children begin to express themselves at 16 months, realize their desires, and are established as a person. A little more and the baby will understand how individual he is. He is now only training in the awareness of his needs.

The child shows his character more and more. He often cries if he doesn’t like something, he can protest by rolling on the floor. Children may refuse certain foods to demonstrate that they do not like them. Favorite toys, activities, and quirks appear. The first grievances that do not give rest also settle in the soul.

3. Wave mood

A large amount of information, a sea of emotions, impressions, and new skills lead to sharp jumps in the mood. It is difficult for a child at 16 months to sort out his feelings. He is not characterized by reflection and the ability to cope with the nervous strain.

There are undulating bouts of laughter followed by tears. This is the age of whims and struggles with his feelings. A small person can only react to emotional overload with mood swings. This also affects sleep, especially at night.

4. Play activity

Play is the best way to experience the world. The child develops through play activities and learns new things. Work through emotions in joint games, different situations that happen during the day, and some fears. Playing for a child is a big part of his leisure time.

Daytime wakefulness is completely tied to the game. The kid himself comes up with activities for himself during the day or with the help of his mother. It fascinates him very much and sometimes overexcites him. Games must be on time. It will be much more difficult for a child to fall asleep if he plays before bedtime.

5. Teething

Teething can complicate the stage of possible sleep regression at 16 months. It proceeds without noticeable interruptions and in the strongest way affects the sleep of the baby. Active teething is timed tonight.

The number of milk teeth that have appeared by 16 months is different for everyone. The child begins to grow the most complex teeth – fangs. Their teething deprives the whole family of a night’s sleep.

How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?

Sleep regression to 1 year of age may occur more frequently. This is due to the spasmodic development and growth of children. Regression begins in the peak period of abrupt changes. The mechanism of reactive adaptation is activated, which manifests itself in the symptoms of sleep regression.

The first regression is considered the most difficult regression of 4 months. The last noticeable regression was at the age of 2 years. The duration of one regression is 2-4 weeks. The child gets used to his new skills and physiological changes during this period. The following can help a child: training new skills, stability of actions, calmness, control of sleep, and wakefulness.

How to Deal with 16 Month Sleep Regression

There are no magic tricks that will immediately get rid of the problem to cope with sleep regression. Try to wait for some time if the first symptoms of sleep disorders appear at 16 months. Give your child a chance to get out of this crisis on their own.

Floating day mode

Any sleep disturbances during the regression period are not subject to full recovery. Accept the fact that it will not be possible to return to the previous daily routine.

Use the floating mode based on the time the child wakes up in the morning. Monitor your child’s sleep and wake times. Don’t let him get tired. A flexible schedule is the best assistant during the regression period.

Don’t rock

Rocking is a very bad habit imposed by grandmothers. Now is not the age to rock the baby. He has already grown significantly and gained a lot of body weight. Take pity on your back and nerves. It is harmful to a child to fall asleep at the moment of rocking. This forms the wrong attitude for him to the process of putting to bed.

Children very quickly get used to bad habits and it is very difficult to wean them from this. Enter a ban on this technique.

Adequate response

Do not panic if at the age of 16 months the baby has clear signs of regression. Control your emotional reactions. The child remembers them and often begins to act up.

You cannot show a negative reaction when the baby is not sleeping. He will copy it and use it as a trigger mechanism before each laying down. You will get constant tantrums before bed and will not be able to quickly fix it. Always remain calm even when the child cries a lot and does not want to sleep at all.

Get him used to the bed

All family members must have their beds. It’s time to start if you have not yet taught the baby to sleep separately. The child’s bed should become a symbol of relaxation for him. Do not use it for waking, gaming, or other purposes.

The child needs to instill an understanding that everyone sleeps separately. This will instill in him a healthy habit and the right attitude towards sleep.

Pain relief

Fangs in babies begin to erupt within a year and a half. Fangs are the most difficult teeth that cause severe pain to the child. Many children stop sleeping at night, start getting up, running to play. So they try to distract themselves from severe pain.

Help the baby during this period. Talk to your pediatrician and let him prescribe painkillers. This period sometimes takes a whole month. Don’t put up with sleep deprivation for so long.

Emotion processing

The development of emotional intelligence should be started as early as possible. Children give a very violent emotional reaction at 16 months. It is difficult for them to understand their feelings and control emotions.

Help your child get out of hysterics because he does not have self-help mechanisms yet. Hug and soothe by saying all the feelings experienced: resentment, anger, anger, disappointment. The child already understands parents well enough, speaks a little, and is ready to listen to adults. Be supportive of the child in working through emotions.

Love and affection

A child at any age should have reinforced concrete support from their adults. Love can help in completely hopeless situations. This feeling is truly magical and works wonders.

Show love for your child. This will help him cope with the symptoms of sleep regression, establish a daily routine and restore calmness. Hug the baby and pay special attention to tactile contact. This is so important for the development of the psyche at any age and especially in times of crisis.

FAQ about 16 Month Sleep Regression

Q1: How long can the regression of 16 months last?

A1: Everything is very individual. Mostly during this period, there are no bright regressive deviations. If there are symptoms, then most likely they will quickly pass. Regression of 16 months is atypical. It can be like a manifestation of regression of 1.5 years.

The duration of any regression is indicated by frames of 2–4 weeks. The acute period of regression can pass in a few days.


Q2: How to understand that this is a regression of 16 months?

A2: You can understand by the onset of age and the appearance of symptoms that were not there before:

  • Protests before bed
  • Refusal of daytime sleep
  • Capriciousness
  • Increased need for attention
  • Change of appetite

Q3: Will a child sleep specialist help in the fight against regression?

A3: Contact a specialist if you cannot cope with the regression on your own. He must be as competitive as possible so as not to harm the child. Try initially to use the tips that we recommend and deal with the regression on your own. Then contact a specialist.


Q4: Will the regression affect only night sleep or daytime sleep too?

A4: Sleep regression is a general disruption of sleep and wakefulness. It affects daytime and nighttime sleep by disrupting the schedule and reducing sleep rates.


Q5: The child’s appetite has deteriorated greatly. He used to eat well. Could this be related to regression?

A5: Most likely yes if all other symptoms of sleep regression are observed and this has not happened before.

At the age of 16 months, children show their taste preferences. They can already distinguish tasty food from the one that they do not like. Try changing the menu. Exclude as the cause of the problem with the gastrointestinal tract if the appetite is not restored.


Q6: Can sleepwalking be a sign of sleep regression?

A6: No. Sleepwalking is a consequence of neurotic problems, the result of severe stress, and congestion of the nervous system. It can also appear with problems with intracranial pressure. A thorough examination of the brain is required.

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