Sleep Regressions


There are 5 well-known sleep regressions and these are:


> 4 months > 9 months > 12 months > 18 months > 24 months


The first regression occurs between 4-6 months old and is triggered due to the maturation of the circadian rhythm’s night cycles.


Signs of the 4 month sleep regression include:


  • Increased fussiness

  • Multiple night wakings

  • Reduced naps or “disaster naps”

  • Changes in appetite


The second regression is the 9 month sleep regression which will typically present around 9/10 months. This can be the point of sleep falling apart, even if a child was sleeping well previously. The trigger for this regression is linked to the development of separation anxiety and also the fear of missing out peaks at this age.


Signs of the 9 month sleep regression include:

  • The sleep starting to fall apart, even if the child was sleeping well previously.

  • Naps become harder to achieve, particularly if there was no schedule in place already

  • Night time sleep becomes worse with some babies waking excessively

  • Crying when put to bed

  • Separation anxiety during the awake time

The last three regressions are at 12 months, 18 months and 24 months and all caused by a cognitive development along with a wave of separation anxiety.

Signs of these sleep regressions include:


  • Children crying when put to bed, even if previously a good sleeper

  • Night wake ups

  • Early morning waking

  • Nap refusal/resistance or short naps

There is not much you can do to stop the regressions from occurring. However, it is certainly possible to reduce the impact of each regression and swiftly move through them by following the suggested approaches:


  • Maintain nap schedule and nap durations

  • Put your child to bed confidently

  • Spend lots of quality time during the day with your child to ease the separation anxiety

  • Establish a good wind-down routine, with lots of quality quiet time as part of the wind-down


Shereen Nielsen



My name is Shereen Nielsen and I am a certified infant and child sleep coach and a Doula, training at the Doula Training Academy. I am also a lecturer and mentor for students on their journey towards becoming a Sleep Consultant, through my on-line internationally recognised sleep consultants course.

If you would like more information about my services please contact me:

Phone: +61419820474

Email: hello@shereennielsen.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/shereennielsen.pregnancyandbeyond

Instagram: shereennielsen_pregnancyandbeyond

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