16 Month Sleep Regression: Tips to Help Your Baby

The 16 month sleep regression is a normal time for toddlers. Their brains are growing a lot. This can cause problems with sleep, like more night wakings, not wanting to sleep at bedtime, taking shorter naps, and waking up early. These issues show your child is growing in many ways. It’s key to know why this happens. Consistent and gentle support is very helpful. With the right steps, you can guide your child back to good sleep and help their development.

Key Takeaways

  • The 16 month sleep regression is a common phase of toddler development.
  • Sleep disruptions during this time can include increased night wakings, difficulty falling asleep, shorter naps, and early waking.
  • Providing consistent, gentle guidance and implementing effective strategies can help your toddler regain healthy sleep habits.
  • Understanding the causes of the regression, such as cognitive, emotional, and physical development, is key to navigating this transition.
  • Prioritizing self-care for parents is important during the 16 month sleep regression.

What is a 16 Month Sleep Regression?

A 16 month sleep regression is when a child’s sleep gets messed up. This happens around 15-18 months old. It shows your toddler is growing fast and learning new things.

Signs of a Sleep Regression

Your toddler might have a sleep regression if they wake up more at night. They might also find it hard to sleep when it’s bedtime. Naps might be shorter, and they could wake up early. These things are a part of growing up and can be managed.

Developmental Milestones at 16 Months

At 16 months, kids make big steps in how they think, feel, and move. They might say about 10 words and become better at walking and climbing. Playing ball, helping with chores, making forts, and pretending are good for their skills and health.

Causes of the 16 Month Sleep Regression

The 16 month sleep problem happens because kids are growing a lot. They are learning so much, they want to do things their way. This makes them test the rules, which can happen at bedtime.

Cognitive and Emotional Development

At 16 months old, toddlers grow a bunch in mind and heart. They start to understand more, wanting to be more independent. This can make bedtime hard as they want to do things their way.

Nap Transition

By 16 months, many kids move from two naps to one. This shift can mess up sleep times. They might find it hard to sleep early or wake up a lot. Helping them get used to a new nap pattern is important to beat the sleep problem.

Separation Anxiety

At 16 months, children notice when you leave and come back. This makes them not want to be alone at bedtime. They might wake up at night more. You can help by being there and teaching them to be okay without you slowly.

16 Month Sleep Regression

The 16 month sleep regression is a phase most toddlers go through. It happens because they are learning a lot and getting more independent. At this time, parents might see their child wake up more at night, have trouble falling asleep, take shorter naps, and wake up early.

At around 18 months, toddlers take a big step in their growth. They start having just one nap a day. This change makes their bedtime shift a little later too. This shift in bedtime might be a challenge during this time.

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Issues with sleep at 16 – 18 months can also come from the toddler drawing boundaries and feeling anxious when apart. To help, parents should stick to a steady bedtime routine. It’s also good to let the child be a bit more involved in the bedtime routine.

Know when your child naturally gets tired. Don’t force them to sleep. To deal with sleep troubles, keep a routine. Set clear rules and deal with any boundary-pushing calmly. This can help a lot during the regression.

How Long Does the 16 Month Sleep Regression Last?

The 16 month sleep regression can last from 2-6 weeks. But, it changes from child to child. Not all toddlers go through this phase at the same time.

Sometimes, it may be tough, but it’s just a short phase. It will disappear as your toddler gets older and learns new things. This change is part of their growth and not something that will last forever.

Being patient and sticking to a routine is very important now. It helps your child deal with the changes in their sleep. And it helps them become better at sleep activities in the future.

Sleep Needs for a 16 Month Old

At 16 months, your toddler’s sleep is changing. They need 12-14 hours of sleep a day. This includes 10-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours in naps.

Recommended Sleep Duration

Most 16-month-olds should sleep around 13-14 hours daily. They must get at least 11 hours at night. The other 2-3 hours can be in one or two naps.

Some children start taking one long nap instead of two. It depends on what your child needs.

Signs of Overtiredness and Undertiredness

Watch for signs of over or under-sleeping. If they sleep too little, they might be fussy or very active. Too much sleep can also make it hard for them to settle at night.

To help, find the right balance between play and rest for your little one. This will support their fast growth and learning.

Tips for Surviving the 16 Month Sleep Regression

Your little one at 16 months might face some changes in sleep. But with a few smart steps, you can help make things better. It’s about fitting some new habits into your day to day. This way, both you and your child can get through this time with more sleep and less stress.

Encourage Active Play

Sleep woes at 16 months can mean more playtime needs. Fun and tiring activities like dancing, running, and playing outside can help. They tire out your child in a good way. This makes them more likely to sleep well come nap or bedtime.

Adjust Wake Windows

Seeing when your toddler is ready for sleep is important. Around 5-6 hours of play time should come before naps. And about 4-5 hours is good before the night’s sleep. This balance and sticking to it can lead to better sleeping.

Offer Choices and Independence

Letting your little one choose simple things can make sleep time better. Picking their own pajamas or bedtime story gives them a sense of control. It can also fight any fear of being away from you that may show up during this time.

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Maintain Consistent Sleep Routines

Being on the same page every day helps a lot. A regular bedtime routine sets the stage for sleep. This might include a bath, pajamas, a bedtime story, and cuddles. Doing these same things at around the same time each night tells your child sleep is coming.

By adding these steps to your everyday life, you can help manage the 16 month sleep regression. Stay calm, be ready to adjust, and really see what your child needs. This way, you can both get more sleep and enjoy your time together.

Should You Sleep Train During a Regression?

The 16 month sleep regression is tough but useful. It’s a good time to look at your child’s sleep. Doing sleep training now can help your toddler sleep better later as they grow.

Gentle Sleep Training Methods

During a sleep regression, be patient. Use gentle ways to help your child sleep better that fit what they need. Here are some ways that work:

  1. Gradual Withdrawal: Step back from your child’s bedtime routine slowly. This helps them learn to calm themselves and fall asleep on their own.
  2. Bedtime Fading: Move your child’s bedtime slightly later to match their natural sleep times. This prevents being too tired to sleep.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Reward good sleep actions with praise. It helps build the sleep habits you want to see.
  4. Consistent Routines: Keep the bedtime routine the same each night. It gives your child comfort and safety during tough sleeping times.

Always be gentle, patient, and tuned into your child. With these good sleep training ways, your toddler can sleep better now and later.

When to Seek Professional Help

If the 16 month sleep regression goes on for more than 4-6 weeks, or you feel overwhelmed, a professional can help. A pediatrician or sleep consultant can give specific advice to improve your toddler’s sleep. This advice can also help your family during this hard time.

At 16 months, sleep problems are common but can be tough. Sometimes, sleep troubles last longer or are more severe. If these troubles affect your child’s day or health, a doctor should check.

A doctor will check for any health issues affecting sleep and guide you on changing the sleep routine. They also suggest tips for forming good sleep habits, like sleep training or new bedtime habits.

A sleep consultant or child sleep expert might offer even more help. They will look at your child’s sleep and make a plan to beat the 16 month sleep trouble. This plan will help your toddler’s sleep be better for the long term.

Getting professional help is not failing as a parent. It’s a smart move for your child’s happiness and your family’s health. With the right help, this sleep stage can be smoother. Your toddler can then get the sleep they need to do well.

The Importance of Self-Care for Parents

Dealing with the 16 month sleep regression can be hard on parents. It’s important to take care of yourself during this time. This way, you can stay well and have the strength to help your child.

Helping your toddler with sleep is key, but don’t forget about you. Find a few minutes every day for yourself. You could relax in the bath, take a walk, or do something you enjoy.

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It’s okay to ask others for help, too. Friends, family, or a caregiver can give you a break. A rested parent is more ready to face sleep challenges with your toddler.

Your child’s sleeping doesn’t show how good a parent you are. Be kind to yourself and find joy in the progress. With care and love for yourself, you can get through this tough time and support your child.


The 16-month sleep regression can be tough for parents and toddlers. It’s normal and part of growing up. By knowing what to do and how to react, you and your child can get through this.

Stay calm and keep the same bedtime routine. Listen to your child and understand their needs. This phase will end, and your toddler will do great.

Think of it as a phase that will soon be over. Stay positive and make changes if necessary. Your toddler needs you to guide and comfort them. With your help, they will get back to a good sleep routine and keep on growing.


What is a 16 Month Sleep Regression?

A 16 month sleep regression is when your child’s sleep suddenly changes. It’s often because they’re growing and learning a lot. This usually happens when they’re 15 to 18 months old.

What are the signs of a 16 Month Sleep Regression?

You might notice more night waking, trouble falling asleep, shorter naps, and waking up early. These changes could mean they’re going through a sleep regression.

What causes the 16 Month Sleep Regression?

At 16 months, kids make big leaps in thinking, feeling, and growing. They start to understand more and want to do things on their own. This can affect their sleep.

How long does the 16 Month Sleep Regression last?

The 16 month sleep regression can last from 2 to 6 weeks. Keep in mind, every child is different, so it might vary for them.

What are the recommended sleep needs for a 16 Month Old?

A 16-month-old should sleep between 12 to 14 hours every day. This includes night sleep and daytime naps.For nighttime, they should sleep for 10 to 12 hours. And during the day, they might take naps that total 2 to 3 hours.

What strategies can help during the 16 Month Sleep Regression?

To deal with the 16 month sleep regression, there are things you can try. Make sure your toddler plays a lot during the day. This can help them be tired more at night.Keep their daily schedules consistent. This means waking up, playing, and napping at similar times each day. Also, let them have some choices and a bit of independence. This can make them feel more in control.

Should you sleep train during a 16 Month Sleep Regression?

If your child is going through the 16 month sleep regression, you might want to adjust how you help them sleep. This can be a good time to try or revisit sleep training. It could help them get back to good sleep habits.

When should you seek professional help for the 16 Month Sleep Regression?

If the sleep problems last longer than 4 to 6 weeks, or if you’re finding it really hard to help your child sleep well, you might want to get help. Talk to a doctor or a sleep expert to get advice.