What is Sleep Regression?

What is Sleep Regression?

New parents often eagerly await the time when their baby will start sleeping through the night. When it finally happens, you’re thrilled to be getting more rest. But suddenly, your baby starts to wake in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. So what’s going on? Blame it on sleep regression.

Sleep regression is a period of days or weeks when your baby, who used to sleep well, starts waking up again during the night or has trouble napping. Although sleep regression can occur at any time, it appears to be more common at certain ages including four, eight and 12 months.

Why Does Sleep Regression Occur?

In many cases, sleep regression tends to coincide with certain developmental milestones, which is why it occurs most commonly at the ages mentioned above. For example, some babies may have sleep disruptions at about four months when their sleep pattern starts to mature.

As your baby’s sleep patterns mature, she’ll often start waking up between sleep cycles. She is also starting to gain more awareness. When she wakes, she wonders where the heck you are and wants you to help her get back to sleep. Sleep regression may also develop as your baby hits milestones, such as eating solid foods or learning to crawl or walk.

While it may be frustrating when your baby starts waking at night, it’s important to try to remember it’s most likely only a temporary phase. Sleep regression typically lasts about a week or two. When you’re bleary-eyed and sleep deprived, a couple of weeks can seem like an eternity. But there are a few things you can do to survive a period of sleep regression

Getting Through Sleep Regression

First, rule out any health related issues. For example, your baby may start waking up at night when he is teething or if he has an earache. Next, it may be helpful to evaluate your baby’s bedtime routine. Depending on how old your baby is, you may need to make a few adjustments, such as pushing bedtime back or moving it forward a bit.

Keep in mind, if your baby has been falling asleep on his own, you don’t want to start rocking him back to sleep every time he wakes up. While it’s fine to soothe your baby, try to avoid developing bad habits that may cause long-term sleep problems for both you and your baby.

Although sleep regression can prevent everyone from getting a good night’s rest, it’s usually just a bump in the road. There may be some instances where nothing you do seems to help, and all you can do is hang in there. Fortunately, sleep regression won’t last forever.

Written by MaryAnn De Pietro

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.