2 Year (24 Month) Old Sleep Regression - Causes, Signs and How to Manage

2 Year (24 Month) Old Sleep Regression – Causes, Signs and How to Manage

Sleep, a crucial part of growth and development in children, can occasionally become a source of concern for many parents, especially when sleep regressions hit. As a parent of a toddler, you might be familiar with sleep regression stages and may have recently found yourself struggling with the dreaded 24-month sleep regression. This article provides a comprehensive look at the two year sleep regression—what it is, why it happens, its signs, duration, and how to manage it effectively.

What Is The 2 Year Old Sleep Regression?

Two year sleep regression refers to a phase in a toddler’s life when they suddenly have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or refuse to sleep entirely. This period can be frustrating for parents, mainly if their child had previously had a healthy sleeping pattern. Although every child is unique, sleep regression at this age is quite common and, unfortunately, a natural part of a toddler’s development.

What Are the Causes of 2 Year Sleep Regression?

Many factors contribute to the 24 month sleep regression. Let’s explore the eight common causes:

1. Developmental Milestones

Toddlers at this age are going through major physical and cognitive advancements which can disrupt their sleep.

2. Separation Anxiety

They might experience separation anxiety which peaks around this age, leading to sleep disturbances.

3. Increased Independence

With their newly discovered autonomy, they often resist bedtime, wanting to explore more.

4. Nighttime Fears

Two-year-olds begin to develop imaginations, leading to fear of the dark, monsters, and nightmares.

5. Disruption in Routine

Any changes in their daily routine can lead to sleep regression.

6. Toilet Training

 If you are potty training, nighttime accidents or the need to go can disrupt their sleep.

7. Teething

Molars often come in around this age, causing discomfort and interrupting sleep.

8. Testing Boundaries

Toddlers may refuse to sleep as a way of asserting control and testing boundaries.

Signs of 2 Year Old Sleep Regression in Your Toddler

The 2 year sleep regression symptoms can vary from child to child. However, there are six signs to watch out for:

  • Frequent Night Waking: If your toddler is waking up frequently during the night, it could be a sign.

  • Difficulty Falling Asleep: If they suddenly struggle to fall asleep, it may indicate regression.

  • Shorter Naps or Skipping Naps: Changes in nap duration or avoidance can be a symptom.

  • Early Rising: Waking up unusually early is another indicator.

  • Increased Irritability: Mood changes, such as heightened irritability due to lack of sleep, is a sign.

  • Resistance to Bedtime: If your toddler fights or resists going to bed, it’s a significant symptom.

How Long Does Two Year Sleep Regression Last?

The duration of the two year sleep regression varies from one child to another, but typically it lasts between two to six weeks. It’s important to remember that this is a temporary phase and won’t last forever, even though it might feel like an eternity when you’re in the midst of it. The period of sleep regression can depend on several factors, including the child’s overall health, their daily routines, and how these sleep issues are being managed by parents. While some toddlers might breeze through this phase within a couple of weeks, others might take a bit longer. However, if this phase extends beyond six weeks, it may be a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist.

How Can You Manage 24 Month Sleep Regression In Your Baby?

Parenting a toddler comes with its unique set of challenges, and managing sleep regression is certainly one of them. As a parent, you might feel overwhelmed when your previously good sleeper suddenly starts having disruptions during their sleep time. It’s important to remember, however, that this is a natural phase of your child’s development and with patience and some practical strategies, you can help them overcome this period. Here are eight effective 2 year sleep regression tips to help you navigate through this challenging time:

1. Maintain Consistent Sleep and Nap Routines

Consistency is key when dealing with a 24 month sleep regression. Try to keep your toddler’s sleep and nap times as regular as possible. This consistency helps to regulate their internal body clock, making it easier for them to know when it’s time to sleep.

2. Provide Comfort and Reassurance

During this phase, your toddler may feel anxious or scared. It’s crucial to provide comfort and reassurance, especially at bedtime. Whether it’s a comforting cuddle, reading their favorite book, or simply talking to them softly, these actions can help your toddler feel safe and secure, promoting better sleep.

3. Offer a Security Object

A security object such as a teddy bear, a soft blanket, or a favorite toy can help soothe your toddler, especially when they wake up during the night. These objects can provide a sense of safety and familiarity, helping your child settle back into sleep more easily.

4. Encourage Independence

While it’s important to provide comfort, it’s equally essential to encourage your child’s independence. Teach them self-soothing skills that will help them settle back to sleep on their own when they wake up at night. This might include finding their pacifier, turning on a soft nightlight, or hugging their security object.

5. Limit Screen Time

Excessive screen time, especially before bedtime, can interfere with your toddler’s sleep. The blue light emitted by screens can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Try to ensure your child has at least an hour of screen-free time before bed.

6. Create a Conducive Sleep Environment

A good sleep environment is essential for anyone, and toddlers are no exception. The room should be dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using blackout curtains, white noise machines, or a fan to create an ideal sleep setting.

7. Communicate the Importance of Sleep

While your two-year-old may not fully understand the concept of sleep, it’s never too early to start teaching them. Explain in simple, age-appropriate terms why sleep is important. Make bedtime seem enjoyable rather than a chore.

8. Practice Patience and Consistency

Last but not least, remember to stay patient and consistent. Sleep regression can be a testing time for parents, but remember, it is a phase and will pass. Avoid resorting to old habits that you’ve moved away from (like rocking to sleep) just to get through the regression. Stick to your routines and the new sleep skills you are teaching.

When to Call A Doctor?

Although sleep regression in 2 year olds is typically normal, if it persists beyond six weeks, or if your child is displaying signs of illness, distress, or a significant behavior change, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional.


1. Do All Babies Have 24 Month Sleep Regression?

Not necessarily, each child is unique and may not experience all the sleep regression ages. 2 years is a common time, but it can vary.

2. Is The 2 Year Sleep Regression A Myth?

No, the 2 year sleep regression is not a myth. Many toddlers experience disruptions in their sleep patterns around this age due to various developmental and psychological changes.

3. Is It Normal If My 2 Year Old Never Had Sleep Regression?

Yes, it’s perfectly normal. Not all toddlers experience the 2-year sleep regression.

4. Does The 24 Month Sleep Regression Affect Naps?

Yes, one common sign of 2-year sleep regression is a sudden resistance to naps or shorter naps.

Lastly, remember the 2 year sleep regression, or any sleep regression ages 2 years, is a challenging time not just for the toddlers, but for parents too. Keeping patience, staying consistent, and using “2 year sleep regression cry it out” sparingly can help you navigate this stage more comfortably.

Also Read:

How To Get Toddler To Sleep At Night
How To Make Toddler To Sleep Alone
How Many Hours of Sleep Do Children Need?

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