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20 Month Sleep Regression

The sleep of a child at 20 months becomes more stable. Children of this age are less likely to wake up at night and sleep well during the day. The manifestation of regression is infrequent or completely absent.

Sleep disturbances may accompany this age with mild symptoms. Children after one and a half years mostly do not experience severe difficulties with falling asleep. They are quite active during the day and this allows them to sleep soundly at night.

There are no strong jumps in growth and development at 1 year and 8 months. Sleep regression at this age is the exception rather than the rule.

Symptoms of Sleep Regression

Signs of sleep regression should be sudden. They appear abruptly and for no apparent reason. This is what distinguishes the symptoms of sleep regression from other possible disorders.

  • Increased excitability of the baby
  • Tearfulness and anxiety
  • Intermittent sleep at night
  • Refusal to lay down for daytime sleep
  • Excessive demands and attachment to the mother

The symptoms of 20 month sleep regression can be a little blurry. Many mothers attribute minor violations of the daily routine to accumulated fatigue or other reasons. Regression can be easily distinguished by its suddenness. The child slept well and suddenly begins to show the above symptoms.

Sleep regression at 20 months often goes unnoticed by parents due to minor symptoms. If you are not seeing sleep regression in your child at this age, this does not mean that something is going wrong. Everything is individual and cannot be equated to any standards.

Does Every Child Have Regression?

Sleep regression occurs in every child according to the observations of specialists. Its intensity and duration are individual indicators. The adaptive abilities of children are different and cannot be predicted in advance.

The main sleep regressions associated with a certain age were identified: 4 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months. Most children show clear symptoms of regression during this period.

Sleep regression is a natural stage in the development of every child. Violations of the daily routine should not become a global problem for parents. Accept the fact that all children go through this stage in their way and at their own pace.

Some children are distinguished by good adaptive abilities and easily endure jumps in growth and development. These babies do not show strong manifestations of sleep regression.

Night and Nap Changes During 20 Month Sleep Regression

The daily norm of sleep after a year and a half remains within 13–13.5 hours. Sleep rates may decrease if symptoms of regression appear. There is a malfunction in the mode and the amount of time spent in sleep decreases.

A 20-month-old baby should sleep approximately 10-12 hours a night. Continuous sleep during regression can be no more than 5-6 hours. Children wake up and it is difficult to fall asleep again and thereby bringing down the regime.

Normal daytime sleep is 1-2 hours. This is the time the child needs to rest. Sometimes children at 20 months still prefer to sleep twice a day but for short periods. Do not insist on one long sleep. Perhaps this is how your child’s biorhythms are arranged.

Wake time at this age increases significantly. The continuous activity of the child should not exceed 6 hours. Toddlers often refuse to sleep during the day with symptoms of regression.

Development Changes That Cause Sleep Regression at 20 Months

At 20 months, there are no significant growth and developmental spurts, and there is no strong sleep regression. There are some features and developmental advances that can affect a child’s sleep. Their influence is not so significant but very significant.

The child grows and develops continuously and at each age accumulates a lot of new knowledge and skills. Any changes in development can provoke disruptions in the daily routine.

Let’s look at examples of what can affect sleep regression at 20 months.

1. Increased physical activity

The child at this age is most active. He plays a lot, frolics, runs, and jumps. More and more the baby controls every movement. He falls less, stumbles less, and becomes more maneuverable. Increased physical activity can lead to physical fatigue. The child often does not have enough time to rest in case of failures in the mode. Accumulated fatigue has a bad effect on sleep.

2. Sociability

The kid is increasingly striving to communicate with both adults and peers. His environment becomes more diverse and much larger. Different communication connections and ways of communication are practiced by the child every day. All of this can provoke overexcitation and severe emotional fatigue in the baby.

A child whose communication is free and not metered has difficulty falling asleep at night. He is anxious, fussy, and restless.

3. Intensive development of speech

Children at 20 months are quite smart and speak their language a lot. Their speech is not always intelligible and difficult to hear, but it develops at a rapid pace. A child at 1 year and 8 months pronounces a large number of words and can speak in simple sentences. Many children already memorize poems.

The development of speech contributes to the active work of the brain. This can cause mental strain and sleep disturbance.

4. Mental instability

Many mothers notice that children after a year and a half become a little more emotional. Their mood changes so often that it is extremely difficult to analyze the reasons for such a state.

Now the baby is laughing and in five minutes he can suffocate in hysterics. Mom hugs him and he again goes about his business as if nothing had happened. Children can get nervous if something in the game does not work out for them or if someone does not understand them.

5. Development of intelligence

The cognitive activity of a baby at 20 months is quite high. The child is interested in everything, he explores the world, analyzes it, and remembers information. Developed sensory ability and brain activity contribute to the development of intelligence.

A child of this age can solve simple logic problems, assemble sorters, and construct towers. He easily learns cause-and-effect relationships and learns from mistakes. The development of intelligence can provoke mental fatigue and disrupt sleep.

How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?

The duration of sleep regression is a very individual indicator. It is impossible to predict exactly how long the regression of your child will continue. There are only relative averages.

Sleep regression begins during a period of sudden growth or developmental spurts. This process continues until the child is fully adapted to the new conditions. This stage takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks.

There are cases when the regression exceeds the stated norms of duration. Prolonged sleep disturbances can occur for up to 6 weeks.

The duration of the regression is affected by sleep conditions, adherence to the regimen, the mood of the mother, and the presence of concomitant diseases.

Training new skills, following all the rituals before bed, emotional support, and controlling fatigue can help to cope with regression.

How to Deal with 20 Month Sleep Regression

The child most often does not experience a strong sleep regression in this age range. The presence of symptoms will be mild and not pronounced. It is worth helping the child if all these violations cause him severe discomfort.

Many recommendations can significantly reduce the impact of symptoms on the child. Let’s consider some of them:

Flexible schedule

The usual routine of the day always collapses with the manifestations of sleep regression. The child does not fall asleep at the right time at night, often wakes up, and does not get up in the morning for a long time. It is worth remembering that you do not need to try to return the child to a strictly previous regimen. It is necessary to be labile and be able to adapt to the changes that have arisen.

It is worth using a flexible schedule to better adapt to new conditions. Control the time of going to bed and the moment of awakening in the morning. Start from these indicators by adjusting the period of wakefulness.

Fatigue control

Overworking the child is not allowed. Make sure that continuous wakefulness does not exceed 6 hours. Dilute your child’s activities with a variety of activities, alternating mental and physical activity. Avoid the build-up of fatigue that may be due to not taking naps. Encourage your baby to sleep one more time during the day if he sleeps one short nap.

Constant support and attention

Always be there in any difficult moment for the child. Give your baby love and care, and accept all his emotions. The guarantee of safety for the child in a calm and balanced mother.

Do not leave the child in a period of tantrums and excessive anxiety. Pay special attention to the baby before going to bed at night: sit next to him, hug him, sing a lullaby. Your support is very important during the period of adaptation to new conditions.

Practice new skills

If at the age of 20 months your baby has mastered any new skill, it is worth working it out as much as possible. Practice new skills throughout the day. This will greatly reduce the chance that the child will train at night.

Repeat as often as possible everything that the baby has learned. Ask him to show what he can do and praise him for it. So the child will soon master his new skills and the adaptation process will accelerate.

Avoid stressful situations

Do everything so that the baby does not experience the accompanying stress during the regression period. This will greatly complicate the period of adaptation and significantly prolong the regression.

Postpone the move, travel, or possible long separation from his mother. Watch the atmosphere in the house. Do not allow to sort things out with anyone in the presence of the baby. It is worth taking a little time if at this age you are ready to end breastfeeding. 2-4 weeks will not affect this decision.

Provide all the conditions for sleep

A child at any age should sleep in good conditions. He must have his bed, a comfortable mattress of medium hardness, and clean linen made of cotton fabric.

The room where the baby sleeps should always be ventilated and clean. Ensure peace in his surroundings before going to bed for the night. Gradually slowing down and creating silence will be the best signals that it’s time to sleep. Baby clothes should be warm and comfortable.

Relieve the child of accompanying discomfort in time

Immediately help the child with treatment if he falls ill during the regression period. Don’t expect it to go away on its own. Use painkillers and antipyretics if there are no contraindications. Any ailment can significantly delay the process of sleep regression and lead to its flow into the next age stage.

If the teeth are hard to cut, the stomach hurts or the temperature is high, the regression will no longer be noticeable at all and it will be difficult to deal with it. It is worth discussing treatment with a pediatrician before any medication use.

FAQ about 20 Month Sleep Regression

Q1: Should I contact a sleep specialist if there is a regression at 20 months?

A1: Depends on how difficult this process is for you and the child. Of course, contact if the existing knowledge is not enough to overcome this period on your own. Sleep regression is a natural process and goes away on its own. You can only ease it a little.


Q2: How long does the sleep regression last at 20 months?

A2: Everything is very individual and it is impossible to say the exact period for a child. Regression on average lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. Regression of 20 months is an infrequent phenomenon. If there are manifestations of this process, then they are insignificant and pass quickly.


Q3: Can the symptoms of sleep regression somehow affect the child’s psyche?

A3: No. Regression is a process that every child goes through. Sleep disturbances are certainly very difficult to tolerate, but no effect on the psyche has been noticed. Try to use a flexible schedule and always be close to the baby.


Q4: A child at 20 months does not sleep well at night and does not want to sleep during the day, is this a regression?

A4: There can be many reasons for poor sleep. Eliminate problems with teething, pain, problems with the gastrointestinal tract, and then we can confidently say that this is a regression.

The absence of concomitant symptoms and the suddenness of signs of regression indicate the clear presence of this process.


Q5: We do not have a sleep regression at 20 months and have not observed it for a year and a half. This is fine?

A5: Quite possibly so. The regression in the child doesn’t need to proceed according to the generally accepted scenario.

All children develop at their own pace and on an individual path. There are no clearly defined rules for when there should be a regression. Your child may have good adaptive abilities.


Q6: What should I do if my child refuses to sleep during the day?

A6: Remember that at 20 months it is still too early not to sleep during the day. Analyze his daily routine. Perhaps the child is not very tired or, on the contrary, overtired. Control his wake time. Don’t stop offering daytime rest to your baby. Close the curtains on windows and create silence and darkness. Practice going to bed early at night.

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