Sleep

Toddlers Sleeping Issues: Common Causes and Solutions

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We provide you with the most typical causes and remedies for toddler sleep issues in this article.

Uploaded on:

24/1/24

Last Reviewed:

29/1/2024

Reading time

8 min

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Sleep is as essential to the healthy development of toddlers as it is for adults. However, bedtime with their young children can be a significant complication and sleep problem for many parents. Let's take a look at common causes and some tips! 👀

Potential causes of toddlers' sleep issues

There are many possible causes of sleep problems in young children; let's look at some of the most common;

Age-related changes

  • Leaps and bounds: Developmental leaps can alter sleep patterns as toddlers process new skills and experiences.
  • Nap transitions: Around 18 months, some toddlers naturally switch from two naps to one, causing temporary adjustments.
  • Night terrors: These frightening episodes usually occur between ages 3 and 5 and can cause nighttime awakenings and distress.

Separation anxiety

  • Fear of being alone at night: This cause can manifest in frequent wakings, resistance to bedtime, and clinginess.
  • Changes in routine: like a new caregiver or starting preschool, can exacerbate this anxiety.

Inconsistent routines

  • Unpredictable bedtimes: wake-up times and nap schedules throw off their internal clock, making falling and staying asleep harder.
  • Lack of a calming bedtime routine: can create overstimulation and make it difficult to transition to sleep.

Daytime habits

  • Excessive screen time: vigorous play too close to bedtime and sugary snacks can all energize and disrupt sleep.
  • Inconsistent nap schedules or skipping naps: can leave them overtired and cranky at night.

Illness

  • Earaches, coughs, teething pain, or even a cold can make sleeping uncomfortable, leading to frequent disruptions.
  • Addressing the underlying illness is crucial for restoring restful sleep.

Uncomfortable sleep environment

  • A too-hot or too-cold room, excessive noise, bright lights, or an uncomfortable mattress can all disrupt sleep quality.
“Sleep disorders that may have a genetic predisposition, such as restless legs syndrome, affect children and adults. Specific medical issues and anxiety disorders increase the risk of sleep issues at any age.”
💡 Sleep Foundation

Common toddler's sleep problems and effective solutions

Restless nights and tired mornings: parenting young children can be like fighting a war, sleep-wise. But fear not, parent, so let's set sail and explore the top 5 sleep issues facing toddlers, along with practical tips and tricks for addressing them:

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1. Falling asleep difficulties

🤱 Separation anxiety: Fear of being alone at night can lead to resistance and waking.

💡 Solution: Offer comfort, leave a nightlight, and gradually increase the distance you sleep from them.

🧑 Underlying medical conditions: Earaches, reflux, or allergies can disrupt sleep.

💡 Solution: Consult a doctor! Rule out any medical issues impacting sleep quality.

 2. Nighttime waking

🛏Habitual wakings: Waking each night simultaneously has become a habit, not a need.

💡 Solution: Stay calm and offer comfort, avoid making a big deal out of waking, offer reassurance, and guide them back to sleep.

🧟 Nightmares or bad dreams: Scary images or experiences can awaken them.

💡 Solution: Talk about them during the day, offer comfort objects, and create a bedtime story together.

❌Teething or discomfort: Painful gums or a full bladder can disrupt sleep.

💡 Solution: Teething toys, pain medication if needed, or an empty bladder can all help.

3. Short sleep duration

🎮 Overstimulation before bed: Screen time, vigorous play, or bright lights can make it harder to fall asleep.

💡 Solution:  Create a calming bedtime routine to wind down the day in a dark room with quiet activities.

📱 Inadequate daytime activity: Lack of physical activity can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

💡 Solution:  Burn off energy during the day, encourage outdoor play, physical activities, and structured exercise.

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4.  Early rising

🛏 Early to bed, early to rise: An early bedtime can lead to an equally early wake-up.

💡 Solution: Gradually shift bedtime later, move bedtime back by 15-minute increments until you reach your desired wake-up time.

⏰ Inconsistent wake-up time: Weekends throwing off the weekday routine can disrupt their internal clock.

💡 Solution: Maintain a consistent wake-up time; even on weekends, try to wake them up at the same time as weekdays.

🌅 Sunlight exposure in the morning: Bright light can trigger early waking.

💡 Solution: Block out the morning light. Blackout curtains or sleep shades can help them sleep longer.

🍭Hunger or thirst: Waking up early due to an empty stomach or needing a drink.

💡 Solution: Offer a small snack or drink: Address hunger or thirst before it wakes them up.

5.  Nap issues

😪 Teething or discomfort: Painful gums or a full bladder can disrupt naptime.

💡 Solution: Create a calming pre-nap routine: Similar to bedtime

🧒 Developmental changes: Some toddlers naturally transition from two to one nap around 18 months.

💡 Solution: In this case, it is to be patient and accept the changes around naps.

⏰ Inconsistent nap schedule: Naps that are too long, too late, or irregular can disrupt nighttime sleep.

💡 Solution: Establish a consistent nap schedule Ideally, one or two naps (depending on age) at specific times.

 Consider napping a waste of time for your babies - it can disrupt their nighttime schedule! Click here: naptime simple tips

How much sleep does a toddler need?

Navigating the ways of infant and toddler sleep issues can sometimes feel like cracking a secret code. One of the critical pieces of this puzzle is understanding their unique sleep needs. How much sleep does a toddler need?

Friendly reminder💫: Each child is a unique navigator on his or her sleep journey. Pay close attention to their cues, such as moodiness or difficulty waking up, and adjust their sleep schedule accordingly.

How much sleep does a toddler need?

Expert baby- tip 👨‍⚕️: According to Kids Health, most children between the ages of 2 and 3 typically sleep 12-13 hours daily, including 1-2 hour daytime naps.

Get what you need by clicking this link if you require additional information!: toddler sleep schedule

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The #1 app for parents and kids in more than 150 countries.

When to consult a doctor about your child's sleep?

While implementing the helpful tips we've explored can go a long way toward smoother navigation in infant sleep, there are times when seeking professional guidance is recommended. Here are some indicators that consulting a physician about your child's poor sleep habits can be beneficial:

Persistent sleep problems:

  • Frequent nighttime awakenings.
  • Bedtime resistance for more than two weeks.
  • Early rising (before 5:00 AM).
  • Significantly shorter sleep duration
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Poor mood despite getting enough sleep at night.

Troubling symptoms:

  • Snoring or noisy breathing during sleep.
  • Gasping or unusual pauses in breathing during sleep.
  • Nightmares or night terrors that cause significant distress.
  • Excessive sweating or bedwetting during sleep.
  • Headaches or stomachaches are associated with sleep difficulties.

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