18 Month Sleep Regression and What To Do

by | Jan 11, 2024 | bedtime routine, bumps in the road, Quick Baby Sleep Tips, Toddler Sleep Tips, transitions | 0 comments

As your little one hits the 18-month mark, you may notice a sudden shift in their sleep patterns, signaling the onset of the infamous 18-month sleep regression. Don’t worry – you’re not alone in this! Understanding what’s happening and implementing a few key strategies can help both you and your child navigate this challenging phase. As a pediatric sleep coach, I’m here to guide you through it.

Understanding the 18-Month Sleep Regression:

The 18-month sleep regression is a developmental milestone that can disrupt your child’s previously established sleep routine. During this time, toddlers experience cognitive and emotional leaps, which can lead to changes in behavior, including sleep disturbances.

Tips for Parents:

1. **Stay Consistent with Bedtime Routine:**

   Maintain a consistent bedtime routine to provide a sense of security for your child. A familiar routine can be reassuring and signal that it’s time for sleep.

2. **Adapt Sleep Environment:**

   Ensure the sleep environment is conducive to rest. Dim the lights, keep the room cool, and eliminate any potential distractions. Creating a calm atmosphere can help your child settle more easily.

3. **Be Mindful of Nap Times:**

   Pay attention to your child’s nap schedule. Adjusting nap times or ensuring they get enough daytime sleep can prevent overtiredness, making it easier for them to settle at night.

4. **Address Separation Anxiety:**

   At 18 months, separation anxiety may peak. Reassure your child during bedtime, use comfort objects, and consider using an “ok to wake clock” to your toddlers room.  This clock will give off a gentle glow to act as a night light and will also indicate when your baby is supposed to be in bed and when they can get out.

5. **Encourage Independent Sleep Skills:**

   Encourage self-soothing by gradually introducing independent sleep skills. This can help your child learn to fall back asleep on their own when they wake during the night.

6. **Limit Screen Time Before Bed:**

   Reduce exposure to screens before bedtime as the blue light emitted can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Opt for calming activities instead.

7. **Stay Patient and Consistent:**

   Remember, consistency is key. While it might be tempting to make quick changes, give any adjustments time to take effect. Be patient and reassure your child through this transition.

The 18-month sleep regression may be a challenging phase, but with understanding and a proactive approach, you can help your child navigate it successfully. As a pediatric sleep coach, my goal is to support parents in creating healthy sleep habits that last a lifetime. Stick to the routine, be patient, and soon you and your little one will find your way back to restful nights. Sweet dreams!


AM Smiles is a highly effective baby sleep coaching service designed for busy families.

I help you harness the power of sleep training to improve the spirits and lives of you and your family through proper rest. I’d love to talk to you about your little one and help you get back to living life well rested! ❤️