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18 Month Sleep Regression

Another serious regression of sleep occurs in a year and a half. It is associated with a significant spurt in the growth and development of the baby. The behavior of a child at this age changes a lot. He becomes extremely naughty, capricious, and protesting. His nervousness is directly related to the process of falling asleep.

Children at 18 months begin to adjust to one daytime sleep. This often throws off their routine and is difficult to resume. Manifestations of sleep regression at this age are characterized by a high degree of severity. Violations in the mode are very noticeable and their appearance is sudden.

A sleep regression of one and a half years is characterized by the appearance of many symptoms. They are associated with sleep disorders and behavioral changes.

Symptoms of Sleep Regression

The symptomatology of a year and a half regression is clear and pronounced. If before this period there were only minor deviations in the norms of sleep, now everything is different. The daily routine of the child is completely rebuilt. It is difficult for parents to control the biorhythms of their baby. There are serious problems with falling asleep.

  • Constant sleep problems and frequent awakenings at night
  • Naps are reduced to 30–40 minutes or disappear
  • The desire to take a nap appears in the late afternoon
  • Increased excitability, nervousness, constant whims
  • The child is completely attached to the mother
  • Appetite changes sharply
  • Accumulation of fatigue, hysteria, overwork
  • Significant reduction in daily sleep requirements

A feature of regression at 18 months is that the symptoms appear suddenly. Their sudden appearance is reactive and is due to the difficulty of adapting to a new leap in growth and development.

A child of one and a half years makes a significant spurt in growth, gains body weight, and acquires new skills. This happens almost at once and leads to serious sleep disturbances, a change in life rhythms, and a deterioration in mental state.

Does Every Child Have Regression?

All children go through a sleep regression. It is timed to certain age periods. The most striking symptoms appear at 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months.

How regression will proceed in your child depends on many factors. This is primarily the individual ability of the baby to adapt to new conditions. Affects the general well-being during the regression period and adherence to sleep patterns.

The appearance of regression indicates that there is an intensive development and active growth of the child. Do not think that development has stopped in the absence of symptoms. Sleep disorders appear at any age of the child. They can be minor or serious. Sleep regression occurs in all children and this needs to be dealt with.

Night and Nap Changes During 18 Month Sleep Regression

There is a serious failure of the daily routine when the regression of sleep at 18 months manifests itself with noticeable symptoms. One of the main symptoms of this condition is a decrease in daily sleep quotas.

A baby at the age of one and a half years should sleep at least 13.5 hours a day. 11-12 hours are allocated for night rest. Daytime sleep should be 1.5-2 hours.

These indicators suddenly decrease during the regression period. The baby can significantly shift the time to fall asleep. He wakes up late in the morning and does not want to sleep during the day. It becomes more and more difficult to return to normal mode during such periods.

The child sleeps poorly at night during regression, waking up between sleep phases. It is impossible for him to independently and smoothly move to the next phase. The child’s sleep becomes interrupted. Wake time at 18 months is normally 5-6 hours. This indicator can increase significantly with sleep regression.

Development Changes That Cause Sleep Regression at 18 Month

A year and a half is the age of significant changes in a child’s life. Certain changes in its development provoke the occurrence of sleep regression. This age is characterized by serious physiological, emotional, and psychological leaps in development. They provoke the onset of symptoms of sleep regression.

Many changes in development at 18 months drastically change the habitual way of life not only for the child but also for the parents.

1. Improving motor skills

A child at 18 months walks well, keeps balance, and makes clear movements with his arms and legs. The kid can safely climb onto the sofa or bed and quickly jump off them. He runs well and copes with many motor tasks on his own.

Improving motor skills leads to severe physical fatigue. It is not uncommon for a child to wake up at night, actively jumping on the bed and practicing new skills. He can easily get out of the crib and start walking or move to the bed of his parents.

2. Progress in the development of speech

Many children at this age speak well. Some are even able to recite short poems. The conversation of kids of this age is still quite childish. A lot of sounds are swallowed, but you can understand the child.

The speech of a child at 18 months becomes interesting. He increasingly and actively uses it to communicate and express his desires. The kid can ask to go to the toilet, call his mother, and say what he wants. The development of speech turns into a restless sleep. Children can talk at night and sleep becomes less deep.

3. Development of memory and attention

Now the child can remember well where everything is in his house. He can remember the adults he sees during the day and then recognizes them. The kid remembers poetry well and can even sometimes tell a few easy quatrains.

The development of memory goes hand in hand with the development of attention. The child concentrates well on the object that interests him. He can easily find the animal or object named by his mother in the picture. He is more and more interested in the same activity. Negative moments are also firmly fixed in the memory of the child.

4. Development of motor skills

A child at 1.5 years old knows how to use a spoon well. He eats porridge and other thick foods on his own. The baby drinks from the cup without spilling the contents on himself.

The child can catch the ball and throw it at the target. He can remove it or put on shoes by fastening the lock. The kid can partially undress, and take off his hat, mittens, and socks. The child takes off his panties on his own if he uses the potty.

Fine motor skills are also developing: the child draws, sculpts with plasticine, and collects puzzles. A jump in the development of fine motor skills can affect the quality of a child’s sleep.

5. Emotional instability

The range of emotions of an 18-month-old baby becomes very wide. He experiences a huge number of feelings that he is not yet able to fully understand.

The kid can be angry because something does not work out for him. He screams, often falls into hysterics, and after a while returns to a state of rest.

Such instability of the psyche is characteristic of this period. It causes sleep disturbances that can occur spontaneously.

6. Fangs

Eruption of fangs can significantly complicate the period of sleep regression. This is the most difficult stage in the appearance of milk teeth, which can drag on for a month or more. This period is characterized by severe pain that haunts the child. The baby often wakes up screaming, gets out of bed, and runs somewhere.

The child tosses and turns during sleep, groans, and constantly wakes up. This behavior is associated with the child’s attempts to calm the pain or switch from it to some activity.

7. Growth spurt

At 18 months, children often experience a strong growth spurt. It leads to the fact that it is difficult for the child to adapt to new sensations. The internal organs do not keep up with the overall growth of the child. The organs of the gastrointestinal tract are especially vulnerable during this period.

The gallbladder does not always cope with the increased need for nutrition and growth spurt. This can cause pain in the right side under the ribs that interfere with sleep. The growth spurt takes a certain amount of time for the child to adapt and not everyone copes with it quickly.

How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?

The beginning of regression is considered the period in which the child’s development is spasmodic. The baby needs to quickly get used to new conditions. There are sleep disturbances that are expressed in typical symptoms.

Regression ends as soon as the child adapts to his condition. This most often occurs within 2 to 4 weeks of the onset of the regression. The duration of the regression can be affected by concomitant diseases, viruses, nutritional problems, and non-compliance with the daily routine.

Constant training of motor skills, a flexible schedule, adherence to daily sleep norms, and the emotional stability of the mother can help the child.

How to Deal with 18 Month Sleep Regression

18 month sleep regression is very active. The child experiences strong emotional and physical stress. It is difficult for him to cope with adaptation on his own. It is worth thinking about how you can effectively help the child. Experienced moms have their ways to ease the period of sleep regression. Several general tips can be applied during a sleep regression period.

Don’t change where he sleeps

You should not transfer the child to his crib if he is still sleeping with you by 18 months. A sudden change in conditions can significantly exacerbate sleep regression.

Do not transfer the child to another room or change the crib. All conditions for the sleep of the baby during this difficult period should remain the same. Do not add complexity to the child at the stage of regression. These are additional conditions to which the baby has to adapt.

Observe the conditions for falling asleep

It is necessary to take care of the conditions for sleep. The room must always be pre-ventilated. Oxygen is the best sleeping pill for a child. Try to darken the room even during naps. This signals to the brain that it is time to rest. Darkness promotes the production of melatonin.

Observe the temperature regime. Children sleep more soundly and calmly in a cool room. Use white noise: the sounds of the sea, flowing water, rain, calm music, birdsong. This technique has a meditative effect on sleep. It becomes deeper and more stable. Falling asleep is accelerating.

Set a clear daily routine

The daily routine undergoes significant changes during a sleep regression. The schedule is constantly changing, the time of going to sleep at night is shifting, and the duration of the naps is being reduced.

It is required to establish rules for going to bed to establish a daily routine. Use bedtime rituals and action sequences. Always let your baby know that it’s time for bed. Try to show him the importance of rest. Be flexible and rearrange the schedule so that the desire to sleep coincides with the regimen of the day if the baby stubbornly resists bedtime.

Active wake time

Walk outside with your baby more often if the weather does not interfere. Diversify his day with intellectual pursuits and physical exercises. Alternate the motor and brain activity of the child, dividing it with rest.

Give your baby freedom of movement throughout the day. Do not constrain him by being in a car seat or stroller. Let walks on the street are in active motion. Practice all new skills during the day so the child doesn’t practice at night.

Don’t Overwork

Overwork is a very clear symptom of sleep regression. It often occurs due to an imbalance between physical activity and sleep.

Make sure your wake time is always diluted with naps. Long sleep during the day should be at least 1.5 hours. The baby will be able to recover and continue to be awake during this time.

Prioritize early bedtime

The beginning of the process of putting to bed should be no later than 20:00. It depends on the acceptable schedule of each kid.

Late falling asleep leads to a strong overexcitation of the child. Try to put him to bed no later than 21:00. Compliance with these frameworks will allow you to establish a daily routine and wake up early in the morning. It will be much easier to put the child to daytime sleep if he wakes up early in the morning. Then the whole regime of the day will become balanced.

Reduce pain

Teething can greatly reduce the quality of sleep. Help your child during this period. It is worth using painkillers if there are no contraindications. Please check with your pediatrician first. Fangs climb extremely painfully and for a long time preventing the child from sleeping normally. The kid tries to get this lack of sleep during the day and completely knocks down the entire daily routine.

FAQ about 18 Month Sleep Regression

Sleep is disturbed in almost all children at 1.5 years old. There are a huge number of questions that need answers. Consider the most popular questions about sleep regression at 18 months:

Q1: Is it possible to significantly reduce the regression period of 18 months?

A1: No, this is not possible. The period of regression is associated with the development of the child and his personal ability to adapt. You can only reduce the symptoms and help the baby to overcome difficulties.


Q2: Can separation from the mother affect the course of sleep regression?

A2: Mom will be the most important person in a baby’s life for a long time to come. A child at 1.5 years is maximally attached to his mother. The child is waiting for the help of his mother in any uncomfortable situation.

It will be extremely difficult for a child to get used to such a stressful situation if the separation is very long. Especially if the baby spent most of the time only with his mother. This will make it difficult for him to adjust.


Q3: How long can the regression of 18 months take?

A3: The duration of regression is an individual indicator. It depends on many factors. Sleep regression normally lasts from 2 to 4 weeks with an acute period of several days.

There are rare cases of prolonged regression when it lasts up to 6 weeks. This happens due to the instability of the daily regimen or a protracted illness.


Q4: Why does sleep deteriorate so much at 1.5 years?

A4: At this age, there is a significant jump in growth and development. This is the start to trigger the sleep regression mechanism. The kid makes significant leaps in physiological and psycho-emotional development. It is difficult for him to adapt immediately and it takes some time to get used to new sensations.


Q5: Is there any medical method of dealing with regression?

A5: Regression is a natural process that is associated with a certain stage in development. Do not use any medication to induce sleep. This can be addictive and will slow down the period of adaptation of the baby.

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