2 Year Old Sleep Regression: Signs, Causes, and Solutions

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Navigate the challenges of 2-year-old sleep regression with insights into signs, causes, and solutions. Learn how to support your toddler in this phase!

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Has your toddler started having sleep problems and avoiding sleep at all costs? This seems like a unique case for us parents, but sleep regression is more common than it seems.

We will tell you everything you need to know about sleep regression in toddlers and how to fix it.

What is the 2-year-old sleep regression?

The 2-year-old sleep regression happens when a toddler who is 2 years old begins to have difficulties with their sleep, like waking up often during the night, struggling to fall asleep, or taking shorter naps.

Waking up early in the morning might also indicate a period of sleep regression.

“Sleep regressions are when your once-good sleeper suddenly doesn’t sleep well anymore. Multiple wake-ups, increased fussing and crying at uncommon times, or even fighting bedtime can happen in babies sleeping soundly through the night.”
💡  Penn Medicine

If this description does not match your little one's sleeping difficulty, we will help you in the following blog: baby fighting sleep

How long does a 2-year-old sleep regression last?

The duration can vary: sleep regression in 2-year-olds can last from a few days to as long as several weeks, depending on the individual child and the contributing factors.

The AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) recommends that 2-year-olds need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep daily, including naps. This suggests that if regression alters their total hours of sleep, it could last longer.

If you need more detailed information about toddler sleep naps, please refer to our article. Toddler refusing to nap

When does a 2-year-old sleep regression start?

According to the AASM, sleep regression at age 2 usually begins between 18 and 24 months. However, it can start earlier or later than this age.

 When will the 2-year-old sleep regression end?

Regression can last from a few days to several weeks, depending on the individual child and all the factors that influence regression, but does not exceed 6 weeks.

What causes sleep regression in a 2-year-old?

“Sleep regression has several causes, and they aren’t always immediately apparent. Children experience sleep regressions differently and at different times.”
💡 Phoenix Children’s

Sleep regression in 2-year-olds is a phenomenon that can frustrate parents and leave them exhausted. Although the exact cause can vary from child to child, here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Developmental milestones

At age 2, the brain is on fire! Language appears as little legs become running machines, and the infant becomes self-aware in many areas. This exciting whirlwind can make bedtime seem like a foreign land. Be patient and loving at all times.

  • Separation anxiety

Suddenly, "Mommy!" can become a panicked cry at sleep time. Separation anxiety peaks around age 2, as the toddler faces his or her newfound independence at night. Familiar routines and comforting objects can act as anchors, calming worries and attracting sleep again.

  • Changes in routine

Life can be unpredictable, sometimes affecting your child's sleep schedule. For example, travel, illness, or the arrival of a new sibling can disrupt their internal clock and make it difficult for them to fall asleep. However, staying consistent is crucial to help them get back on track.

  • Overtiredness

Spending too much time at playtime can backfire. Overstimulated brains increase energy, while eyelid drooping is a sign of protest. Moodiness, hyperactivity, and concentration problems are often the first clues. Always respecting routines and sleep cues is vital.

How to identify if your baby is experiencing sleep regression? 

Here are some clues to know if your baby is suffering from sleep regression:

  • Difficulty falling asleep: If your baby is having difficulty falling, it's time to pay more attention. You also could check this completed blog naptime simple tips
  • Shorter naps: If your little one doesn't last long at naps, it's a sign.
  • Increased irritability: Sleep directly affects our emotionality; if you notice your little one is much more irritable, it's time to act.
  • Clinginess and separation anxiety: We know that in most children, clinging to us as parents are "normal", but you should pay attention if there is a high level of separation anxiety.

"Children perceive their parents' emotions. If you are calm and confident, the child will be more likely to feel calm at all times."
💡Dra. Lorena Koppel

4 Solutions for the 2-year-old sleep regression

Already knowing and being sure that our child suffers from this disease, it's time to act. Here are 4 possible solutions:

1. Maintain a consistent bedtime routine

The routine is one of the main things you must define; here is an example:

  • 🛀 Bathtime

Always a sound bath is perfect to start the trip to bed.

  • 👚Put in PJs

Attire is vital; ensure your clothes are in good shape for lounging.

  • 🦷 Brush teeth

Always brush their teeth and make it part of their daily routine before bed.

  • 📚 Storybook time

Go to the Storybook app and set him one of his favorite stories; believe us, it will be memorable.

  • 💤 Go to sleep! 

Already after the routine is completed, it's time to sleep. Make sure your little one is asleep, and go to rest!

if you need a little more information on this subject, we leave you here this complete blog: bedtime routine chart

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2. Create a calming sleep environment

The environment is vital for sleep; make sure it is a comfortable space worthy of a restful sleep.

3. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule

If you fully define the toddler sleep schedule routine, it is essential for you as a parent to be disciplined about what you have agreed to, ensuring a smooth and restful bedtime for your little one.

4. Encourage self-soothing techniques

Self-soothing techniques are very efficient and beneficial. Massage, breathing, meditation, or nighttime storytelling are very efficient and helpful. 

massages for kids

Written By

Francisco Cornejo
CEO Storybook

Francisco Cornejo, a dynamic entrepreneur with a Masters in Communication from RMIT University in Australia, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Storybook. As a serial entrepreneur, he notably served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Honda Motors in Latin America, shaping the brand's regional presence. ‍ Passionate about family well-being and communication, Francisco leads Storybook in its mission to improve children's health globally, aiming to create positive impacts in both corporate and societal spheres.


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