12 Months Sleep Regression

12 Months Sleep Regression

12 Months Sleep Regression

Your baby may be experiencing 12-month sleep regression if you notice them regressing to similar sleep habits to when they were in the newborn stage. Your baby has probably been through a sleep regression before, which happens commonly around four and eight months, too.

What Exactly Is Sleep Regression

As your child reaches one year old, this sleep pattern becomes more regular. They need fewer naps during the day, sleep longer at night, and do not need as much sleep as they did before.

However, some children suddenly start to experience sleep trouble, causing them to return to their sleep patterns from their first months of life.

There are a lot of things that cause sleep regression, which is why this may be troubling for parents. After all, your baby getting a night of sleep does not just benefit them. As their sleep changes, yours does, too. As they sleep through the night, you have to get up less and less to take care of them.

A sudden regression can be jarring. Not just because it impacts your sleep, but because it usually means something is happening in the baby’s life causing it.

What Causes Sleep Regression

Every child is different, which means not all of them experience a sleep regression at 12 months. Some will not experience sleep regression at all.

If you notice your baby is regressing when it comes to sleep, there are some common signs you can use to prepare for upcoming sleep regression.

Walking or Talking

Sleep regressions often coincide with these types of developmental milestones. If your baby starts walking or talking more, this can alert you to the possibility of a sleep regression soon.

Separation Anxiety

Your baby may be experiencing separation anxiety if they are crying and clinging when you put them to bed at night. Separation anxiety can lead to sleep issues because they get so worked up that they cannot relax enough to sleep.

Nightmares or Night Terrors

Another cause of sleep regression, though less common than others, is nightmares and night terrors. Night terrors can cause sleep issues even in adults. It is no wonder they impact your baby’s sleep.

When your baby is 12 months old, their mind has become more imaginative. As a result, they may start conjuring up scary thoughts and images in their sleep. When this happens, they may be more fussy or cranky during the day and resist sleep at night.


Teething is an uncomfortable or even painful experience for babies. This pain or discomfort may keep your baby awake at night, resulting in them reverting to sleep habits more akin to a younger baby.

What Other Sleep Regressions Are There

The most commonly talked about sleep regression is the four-month regression. These issues occur when your baby sees a change in their sleep cycle to match an adult cycle.

The eight-month regression comes with a boom in cognitive growth for your baby. They start learning language more and figure out how to crawl and sit up during this time. This development leads to their minds being so busy they struggle to sleep.

The 18-month sleep regression can happen as your toddler starts finding independence they did not have before. Teething and separation anxiety can be the cause of this regression, similarly to the 12 months regression.

Typically, the final regression is the two-year sleep regression. Nightmares are more common at this time than they are at 12 months. Potty training and other developmental milestones can cause their brains to go off the rails like in the eight-month regression, causing sleep troubles.

You may notice that sleep regressions are most common during big stages of growth for your baby. Like walking and talking, any milestone may come with sleep regression. Worry not, though, because you can help your baby through.

What Can I Do

You can help your baby when they are not sleeping well. Now that you know what causes sleep regression, you can try to treat issues.

Keep a Schedule

Keeping on schedule and maintaining routines even if your baby struggles to follow them will help them adjust. If you let their habits go, your baby may form poor sleep habits.

Soothe Your Child

If your baby is struggling to sleep, you can try to soothe them by rocking them until they almost fall asleep and talking to them. Comforting your child can help with separation anxiety if they know you are still there. During sleep regressions, babies have a more difficult time self-soothing, so it may be beneficial to help them.

Make a Better Sleep Environment

Try eliminating anything that may keep your baby awake. Noise and light are big culprits of this. These can make it difficult for your baby to sleep at night and make it harder to get over the sleep regression.

Help With Teething Pain

If your baby has sleep regression because of teething pain, you should try to help them. You can give them a teething ring made from firm rubber to help soothe their gums. Alternatively, you can take a clean finger and massage their sore gums.

Other methods of helping with teething, like gels or teething jewellery, come with more risks. Teething jewellery is a choking hazard. Using gels that contain benzocaine or homeopathic treatments can even lead to death.

How Long Will It Last

Typically, sleep regression is not usually a long-term problem. The 12-month sleep regression should last two weeks or less. If it lasts longer than that, talk to your doctor. They can help identify any issues that may be causing sleep problems.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of causes for sleep regression, but sleep regression means that your baby is growing cognitively. Their brain is so busy with new information that they struggle with sleep.

There are a lot of methods you can use to try and help your baby sleep again. It is always paramount to keep your schedule and routines. In a few weeks, your baby should start sleeping like they used to, and things will calm down.

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