Last Updated on February 9, 2023

As parents, we know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, sometimes our babies and toddlers can experience disruptions in their regular sleeping patterns – such as the 12 month sleep regression. This phenomenon typically occurs around the age of one year old and often causes disruption for both baby and parent alike! In this article, we will be exploring what exactly 12 month sleep regression is, its signs and causes as well as helpful tips on how to manage it should you find yourself dealing with this common issue. Finally, when might be an appropriate time to seek professional help if needed? Let’s take a look at all these questions so that you have the information necessary to ensure your little one gets back on track towards healthy sleeping habits.

What Is 12 Month Sleep Regression?

Sleep regression is a period of time when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly begins to wake up frequently during the night and have difficulty falling back asleep. It typically occurs around the age of 12 months, but can happen at any age. This sleep disruption can last anywhere from several days to weeks, making it difficult for parents to get adequate rest themselves.

Signs of 12 month sleep regression may include: waking more often than usual during the night; increased fussiness before bedtime; resisting going to bed; taking longer than usual to fall asleep; waking earlier in the morning than normal; shorter naps throughout the day; and/or difficulty transitioning between sleep cycles.

To learn more about this phenomenon, let’s explore the signs of 12 month sleep regression in the next section.

Signs Of 12 Month Sleep Regression

1 year old baby refusing to sleep
1 year old baby refusing to sleep

Sleep regression is a normal part of development for babies and toddlers. At 12 months, many children experience sleep disruption that can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. It’s important for parents to recognise the signs of 12 month sleep regression so they can properly manage it and help their child get back on track with healthy sleeping habits.

One common sign of 12 month sleep regression is waking up more often than usual during the night. This could be due to your baby or toddler having difficulty settling down into deep sleep or feeling anxious about being alone in the dark. If this happens, try comforting them by speaking softly and reassuringly until they fall asleep again.

Another sign of 12 month sleep regression is difficulty falling asleep in the first place. This could be caused by an overstimulated mind as your child starts exploring new things every day and has trouble winding down at night time. To help ease this transition, create a calming bedtime routine such as reading stories together before bed or taking a warm bath together before snuggling up in bed with some soft music playing in the background.

Increased fussiness or crankiness during the day may also indicate that your baby or toddler isn’t getting enough restful sleep at night due to disrupted patterns caused by 12 month sleep regression. Try giving them extra cuddles throughout the day when possible, as well as making sure they have plenty of opportunities for physical activity, like going outside for walks or playing active games indoors if the weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities.

Finally, another sign of 12 month sleep regression is difficulty napping during daytime hours. If you notice that your little one struggles to settle down for nap times, try setting up an environment conducive to relaxation, such as dimming lights, closing curtains, and playing soothing music. Additionally, make sure not too much stimulation occurs right before nap time – turn off screens like TVs and phones an hour prior so there’s no distraction from actually trying to relax.

It is important to be aware of the signs of 12 month sleep regression so that you can better understand your child’s behaviour and work towards finding a solution. Next, let’s explore the causes of this sleep regression.

Causes Of 12 Month Sleep Regression

The exact cause of 12 month sleep regression is unknown, but it is believed to be related to developmental milestones.

  • As babies grow and learn new skills, such as walking or talking, their brains become more active, and they may have difficulty settling down for sleep.
  • Teething can also disrupt a baby’s sleep patterns as the discomfort associated with teething can make it difficult for them to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  • Changes in routine can also affect a baby’s sleeping habits; if something has changed in their environment or schedule, this could lead to disrupted sleep.
  • Separation anxiety is another possible cause of 12 month sleep regression; when babies are separated from their parents at night, they may experience distress which makes it hard for them to settle down and go back to sleep.
  • In some cases, illness can be the culprit; if your child has recently been ill then this could explain why they are having trouble sleeping through the night. If your child has had an ear infection or cold then this could be causing pain that prevents them from getting comfortable enough to drift off into dreamland. It’s important that you monitor your child’s health closely so that any illnesses can be treated quickly before they start affecting their sleeping patterns too much.
  • Finally, environmental factors such as noise levels in the home or light coming through windows at night time could contribute towards disrupting your little one’s slumbering hours. Making sure there are no loud noises near where your baby sleeps and keeping curtains drawn after dark might help improve their quality of restful nights.

Common causes of 12 month sleep regression can include teething, separation anxiety, and developmental milestones. However, with the right strategies in place, parents can still manage their baby’s sleep during this challenging period. Next, we will look at how to manage it.

How To Manage 12 Month Sleep Regression

Little girl in grey turtleneck playing with teddy bear on white bedding
A little girl playing with teddy bear on white bedding.

It can be frustrating for parents, but there are some strategies that may help manage it:

  • Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is key in managing sleep regression. Having a regular bedtime routine helps your child know what to expect each night and can make it easier for them to settle down and fall asleep on their own. This could include giving them a bath, reading stories together, singing lullabies, etc., before tucking them into bed at the same time every night.
  • Avoid stimulating activities before bedtime, as this can make it harder for your child to relax and fall asleep quickly. Try avoiding screens (TVs, phones) an hour before bedtime as well as any other activity that might excite your little one, such as playing active games or running around outside right before they go to sleep.
  • Providing comfort when needed is also important in helping your child get through the 12 month sleep regression period without too much distress or disruption of their usual nighttime routine. Cuddles from mommy or daddy can be very comforting, so don’t hesitate to give extra hugs if you think they need it!
  • Finally, making sure your child gets enough daytime sleep is essential in ensuring they have enough energy throughout the day, which will then help them stay awake longer during the evening hours so they won’t wake up too early in the morning either. If you struggle with getting them naps during the day, try setting aside some quiet time where you both just rest together without actually sleeping – this should still provide some relief from being over-tired by nighttime.

If none of these strategies seem to work after trying consistently for several weeks, then consider seeking professional help from a paediatrician or certified infant/child sleep consultant who may be able to offer more tailored advice specific to your situation and needs.

With the right strategies and guidance, managing 12 month sleep regression can be made easier. To ensure your baby is getting the best care possible, it’s important to know when to seek professional help.

When To Seek Professional Help

When it comes to managing 12 month sleep regression, parents may find themselves feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. It’s important to remember that every child is different, and some strategies may work better than others. If your baby or toddler is still having difficulty sleeping after trying various methods, it may be time to seek professional help from a paediatrician or sleep specialist.

Signs that you should consider seeking professional help include:

  • Your child wakes up multiple times during the night for no apparent reason
  • They are unable to settle back down without assistance from you
  • You have tried all the usual methods, such as creating a bedtime routine, adjusting their diet, etc., but nothing seems to be working
  • Your child appears irritable and exhausted during the day due to lack of restful sleep at night
  • You are feeling stressed out and exhausted yourself from dealing with your baby’s sleepless nights

Professional help can provide further advice on how best to manage your child’s sleep issues. A paediatrician or sleep specialist can assess any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing factors in causing poor quality of sleep, such as allergies or reflux. They can also suggest lifestyle changes like establishing an appropriate bedtime routine or making dietary adjustments if necessary. In addition, they will offer tips on how best to handle nighttime awakenings so that both parent and baby get the rest they need for healthy development.

It is important not to wait too long before seeking professional help, as this issue often resolves itself within a few months if managed properly with guidance from an expert who understands infant behaviour patterns. Therefore, do not hesitate; speak with your doctor today about getting started on finding solutions for your little one’s sleepless nights.


How long does 12 month sleep regression last?

It typically lasts between two to four weeks, but can sometimes last up to eight weeks. During this time, parents may notice their child having more trouble falling asleep or staying asleep than usual. Parents should take extra care during this period by providing comfort and reassurance to their little one as they adjust to the new changes in their life. With patience and understanding, the 12 month sleep regression will eventually pass, and your baby’s regular sleeping patterns will return.

What does 12 month sleep regression look like?

During this time, babies may wake up more frequently during the night, take shorter naps, resist bedtime, and have difficulty settling back to sleep after waking. This usually occurs around 12 months old and can last for several weeks or even months. Parents should be prepared with strategies such as creating consistent routines, avoiding overstimulation before bedtime, and providing comfort measures like cuddles or rocking to help their child settle down at night.

How do I fix my 12 month sleep regression?

Sleep regressions are a normal part of development for babies and toddlers. At 12 months, your child may be experiencing an increase in separation anxiety or difficulty transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next. To help your baby through this phase, create a consistent bedtime routine that includes calming activities such as reading stories or singing lullabies. Make sure the room is dark and quiet with no distractions like screens or toys. Establishing healthy sleep habits can also help; avoid stimulating activities before bedtime and limit naps during the day if necessary. Finally, provide comfort when needed but don’t over-cuddle – it’s important to teach them how to self-soothe so they can fall asleep on their own.

Why is my 12 month old waking up all night?

It is common for babies and toddlers to wake up during the night, especially if they are going through a developmental milestone or teething. It is important to establish good sleep habits from an early age by creating a consistent bedtime routine and ensuring your child has had enough physical activity throughout the day. If your 12 month old continues to wake up all night, it may be helpful to consult with your paediatrician about possible solutions, such as adjusting their sleep schedule or introducing calming activities before bedtime.


While it can be difficult to manage, there are ways you can help your child through this period. If the situation becomes unmanageable or if you have any concerns about your child’s sleeping habits, then it is best to seek professional advice from a doctor or sleep specialist. With patience and understanding, parents can successfully navigate their way through the 12 month sleep regression phase with their little one.

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