Just when you think you've got this parenting thing down, your happy, well-sleeping baby suddenly gets up multiple times a night. Has this happened to you? If so, your baby or toddler may be experiencing sleep regression.
What is Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression happens when a child "reverts" an already-established bedtime routine and abruptly refuses to sleep, nap, or wakes up frequently throughout the night. Sleep regressions can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Here are some common indications your child may be going through a sleep regression:
- Frequent night wakings
- Fussiness and refusal to nap or go to bed
- Change in eating habits or nursing more frequently
Why do Sleep Regressions Happen?
Sleep regressions tend to coincide with new developmental stages and milestones. These include teething or common growth spurts at four, six, eight, and twelve months old. Sleep regressions can also happen when environmental factors change, such as starting school or daycare, adjusting to a new sibling in the house, traveling, or sickness.
How do I Correct Sleep Regressions?
If your child is going through a sleep regression, the good news is that there are many things you can do to help your child get back on track (and for you to get more sleep)! Below are the best ways to circumvent sleep regression.
There are plenty of programs, books, videos, and courses available to parents who wish to sleep train their child. Sleep training programs use a variety of methods designed to help you create a plan-of-action so your child sleeps better. Most programs, however, boil down to one thing: develop a sleep routine and stick with it.
Develop a Sleep Routine
Developing a good night time routine is the foundation for helping a child through sleep regressions. How do you create a sleep routine? First, commit to doing a few tasks around the same time every night in the same order before bed with your child. These can include going on a walk, reading a book, taking a bath, brushing their teeth, putting on pajamas, and eating. Make sure you complete these tasks in the same order every night, as even small routine changes could impact on your ability to put your child to sleep. A new sleep routine could take a few weeks to get used to, so keep track of things that work and how long your child sleeps each night during the process.
Create the Right Sleep Environment
The most important part of establishing a bedtime routine is to create the right sleep environment for your child. This includes dimming lights, avoiding loud noises or TV, and closing blinds, windows, and doors (especially if it's still light outside).
Lighting plays a huge part in setting the right mood for your child to sleep. That's why it's important to keep out natural light, while dimming the lights in your rooms leading up to bed time. You'll want to research kids night lights that promote positive sleep environments, as well. Most kids night lights that come in blue or white can actually disturb their natural sleep hormones, which may lead to more frequent night wakings. Night lights such as this Sleep Aid Night Light use long-wavelength light and are designed to work with your child's natural sleep-inducing hormones. Also, consider a light that is dim enough to be kept on overnight but is still bright enough for you to see during night time feedings and diaper changes.
Promote Healthy Sleep Habits
Battling through a sleep regression with your little one can be quite stressful. By developing a solid nighttime routine, you can help your infant or toddler be set up for a lifetime of healthy sleep habits. Look for more helpful tips on sleep-wellness and other sleep aid products on Emagine A's website.