What is the 24-Month Sleep Regression?

all you need to know about the 24-month sleep regression

The 24-month sleep regression is no joke. 

Just when we think we’ve got things figured out, our kids have a way of slapping us back to reality,  and the 24-month sleep regression is a great example of this.

And, unlike other regressions, this one of the hardest to overcome.

In today’s post, I’m giving you the inside scoop on this pesky regression, including what it is, what it looks like, and what causes it.

All you need to know about the 24-month sleep regression

What is the 24-Month Sleep Regression?

Occurring around two years of age, this regression is marked by sudden, consistent night wakings or bedtime refusals.

Here’s how the 24 Month Sleep Regression typically presents itself: 

  • Your toddler usually goes to bed without a fight, but suddenly wants mom or dad in the room while she falls asleep, OR
  • Your child falls asleep like usual, but wakes up several times a night and needs mom or dad to help her fall back asleep.

The two-year sleep regression typically lasts between two and three weeks.

What Causes the 24-Month Sleep Regression?

Several factors contribute to this sleep regression, including, but not limited to:

  • Inappropriate wake times
  • Separation anxiety
  • Major life changes
  • Skipped naps
  • Nighttime fears

Let’s take a look at each of these more in-depth.

Inappropriate Wake Times

Toddlers at this age should be awake for longer periods as their sleep needs shift and change. 

As a result, they might fight naps and bedtimes because they aren’t tired enough. 

To curb this issue, make sure you’re using age-appropriate waketimes.

Related: The Sleep Ranch Wake Times Guide

Separation Anxiety

While separation anxiety occurs many times throughout a child’s life, it commonly peaks again around two years of age. 

According to Psychology Today, separation anxiety “refers to excessive fear or worry about separation from home or an attachment figure.”

The good news? Separation anxiety is usually temporary.

Skipped Naps

As children get older, parents are often tempted to forgo naps, but this is a mistake. 

The occasional skipped nap is okay, but doing this consistently will lead to an overtired child, which creates bedtime battles and frequent night wakings.

Remember: keep naps in your child’s routine until 3-4 years of age.

Major Life Changes

Significant life changes can create mild anxiety, which impacts sleep. These events can include:

  • Potty training
  • New siblings
  • Going to preschool or daycare for the first time

Nighttime Fears

Toddlers this age start to develop normal fears about bad guys, monsters, and unusual noises.

But be warned: toddlers also use fears as a bedtime stalling tactic! 

Related: Three Ways to Help Your Preschooler Cope With Fears and Nightmares

Recap:

The 24-month sleep regression is marked by bedtime refusals and/or frequent night wakings.

It’s caused by a number of factors, including skipped naps, separation anxiety, inappropriate wake times, major life changes, and nighttime fears.

 This regression typically lasts between 2-3 weeks. If it lasts longer than six weeks, reach out!

I offer one-on-one coaching plans that will get you and your toddler back to sleep in no time!