Navigating the 2-Year Sleep Regression Phase

Mar 8, 2024

As a parent, one of the most treasured moments is when your child finally starts sleeping through the night. However, as your little one approaches age two, you may notice a sudden change in their sleep pattern. You might find that your previously peaceful sleeper is suddenly restless, resistant to bedtime, and wakes up frequently at night. This is known as two-year-old sleep regression, a phase that many parents find challenging to deal with. In today’s blog post, I will delve into the causes behind two-year-old sleep regression and provide effective strategies to help you and your toddler get the rest you need.

What Does Two-Year-Old Sleep Regression Mean?

Sleep regression at two years old occurs when a toddler who has been good at night sleeping suddenly starts having sleep issues. These can include difficulty falling asleep, frequent night awakenings, shorter naps, or outright resistance to going to bed. It’s important to recognize that this is a normal developmental phase for many children and not a reflection of your parenting skills.


Causes Of Sleep Regression

Several factors contribute to sleep regression in two-year-olds:

Developmental Milestones: At this age, toddlers undergo significant physical, cognitive, and emotional development. They learn new words, become more mobile, and experience a surge in brain development, all of which can affect their sleep.

Separation Anxiety: Many two-year-olds experience heightened separation anxiety, making them more clingy and less willing to sleep alone.

Changes in Routine: Any disruption in their routine like potty training, transitioning to a toddler bed, or starting preschool can trigger sleep issues.

Increased Independence and Willfulness: As toddlers grow, they assert their independence and test boundaries, which can manifest as resistance to bedtime.

Signs of Two-Year-Old Sleep Regression

Identifying sleep regression in your two-year-old can be tricky, especially if they have always been a bit unpredictable with sleep. However, certain signs can indicate that they’re going through this phase:

  • If your child, who previously went to bed easily, is now fussing or outright refusing to go to bed, it could be a sign.
  • Sudden and frequent night awakenings when they used to sleep through might indicate regression.
  • This can be a sign if your toddler is resisting or skipping their usual naps or napping for shorter periods.
  • Waking up significantly earlier than usual and not falling back asleep can also indicate sleep regression.
  • Lack of adequate sleep can result in crankier daily behavior.
  • If your child suddenly seems more clingy or needy, especially around bedtime, it might be due to sleep regression.

Strategies For Handling Two-Year-Old Sleep Regression

Navigating through the two-year-old sleep regression requires patience, consistency, and a few tried-and-tested strategies. Here are some detailed approaches:

Establish A Consistent Bedtime Routine

bedtime routine

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is essential for children. This routine should consist of a warm bath, reading a story, and some quiet time, and should begin at the same time every evening to regulate your child’s internal clock.

Create A Comforting Sleep Environment

sleep environment

Ensure that the sleep environment is conducive to getting more sleep. The room should be cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using white noise machines to drown out household noise. A nightlight can provide comfort if your child fears the dark and ensure their bed or crib is cozy.

Address Separation Anxiety

separation anxiety

At this age, children often experience separation anxiety. You can ease this by spending quality time swimming together and having probiotics-rich food while enjoying some Disney and undistracted time with your child before bed. A transitional object like a beloved stuffed animal can also provide comfort when you’re not there.

Stay Calm And Patient

calm and patient

It’s essential to keep your composure during challenging nights. Respond calmly and soothingly if your child resists bedtime or wakes up at night. Losing your temper can make things worse.

Limit Screen Time Before Bed

limit screen time

The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the ability to fall asleep, whereas red light helps to fall asleep. Implement a no-screen policy at least an hour before bedtime.

Offer Reassurance Without Reinforcing Bad Habits

When your child wakes up at night, it’s okay to offer comfort, but try to avoid creating new habits like staying in the room until they fall asleep or letting them into your bed if this isn’t part of your normal routine.

Be Flexible But Firm

While consistency is crucial, be prepared to make small adjustments. If your child missed a nap and is overtired, an earlier bedtime might be necessary to ensure a good night’s sleep and a refreshed wake-up.

Encourage Daytime Physical Activity

2 year old regression

Active play during the day can help your child expend energy and be more prepared for rest at night. To make your child healthy and fit for physical activity, consider giving your toddler probiotics to boost their gut health.

Understand Sleep Cycles

sleep cycles

Like adults, toddlers have sleep cycles and may wake briefly several times a night. The goal is to help them learn to self-soothe and fall back asleep in the best sleeping position.

Communicate With Your Toddler


Use simple language to explain why sleep is important. For example, tell them sleep helps them grow strong and have energy for playtime.

Ensure Comfort


Address any physical needs such as a diaper change or hunger, and consider environmental factors like cold room temperature or pajama comfort.

Seek Professional Advice if Necessary

professional advice

Persistent sleep issues or concerns should be discussed with a pediatrician or a child sleep specialist. The doctor might recommend some sleeping drops for your child to boost their hormones, but be mindful. Make sure to get supplements from an authentic seller like Medella Springs, where each supplement is clinically approved.


Two-year-old sleep regression can be a testing time for both parents and toddlers. However, this phase can be managed effectively with understanding, consistency, and patience. Remember, every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Trust your instincts, be adaptable, and know that this challenging phase won’t last forever.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Will 2 Years Old Sleep Regression End?

The duration of the two-year-old sleep regression varies. For some, it may last a few days, while for others, it could be a few weeks. The key is to remain consistent with your approach and understand that this phase is temporary.

Is It Okay To Let My Child Cry It Out During This Regression?

The “cry it out” method is a personal choice and depends on your parenting style. Some experts believe it teaches children to self-soothe, while others suggest it might increase anxiety. Choosing a method that aligns with your family’s values and your child’s temperament is important.