What is sleep regression and why don’t we know about it yet?

Most of us will come face to face with this sleep disorder at some point but few of us know about it till it actually happens. Here's everything you need to know about sleep regression...

Sleep Regression. You probably don’t know what the term means but if you’ve had a child you’ll definitely have experienced it. Here’s everything you need to know about this exhausting period of sleepless nights.

What is sleep regression?

Sleep regression is a period of time when a baby who has previously had regular sleeping habits begins waking up frequently during the night – meaning so will you. Your child may also be harder to get to sleep and refuse to nap – making it harder for you to sleep and giving you irregular sleep patterns and intense sleep deprivation.

When does sleep regression occur?

Sleep regression is temporary and comes in periods, often occurring around the 4 month, 8 month and 11 month mark.

Sleep regression

Why does sleep regression occur?

These periods of sleep regression will occur as cognitive and developmental milestones in your baby’s life. As a child grows and develops so too does their sleeping patterns, becoming more ‘adult-like’ over time. At around 4 months old, a child will start to develop sleep cycles, now entering a lighter stage of sleep before moving into deep sleep, rather than immediately entering a deeper stage. This means that previously successful methods of nursing your child to sleep will no longer be effective. Babies will also begin to roll meaning that your child will find it harder to fall and remain asleep.

How long does sleep regression last?

Periods of sleep regression can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. If it lasts longer, you might want to check with your doctor that you aren’t dealing with a separate issue.

sleep disorders

How can you end sleep regression?

Periods of sleep regression will usually end on their own but during these transitions it is important to remain patient and remember that nursing your child to sleep will take longer, and will most likely take a few attempts before you are successful.

Children should begin learning to self-sooth at around the 4 month mark, indicating that they will soon be able to sleep for longer stretches of time. Look out for potential signs of self-soothing, including kicking, raising and dropping their legs, rubbing their head and sucking on an object.

How to cope with sleep regression:

Periods of sleep regression are frustrating and exhausting for both you and your baby.

Try to avoid creating any new sleep crutches or falling back into old ones during the transition. Remaining flexible and adjusting your schedule to deal with the temporary change will allow you to take naps throughout the day and get you through this time of flux.

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