How to Overcome the Dreaded 12 Month Sleep Regression

When your little one turns one, they might face the 12 month sleep regression. They may suddenly wake up a lot at night. This happens because they are going through big changes. These changes include learning to walk and talk, and becoming more aware of the world around them.

This sleep issue usually lasts for about 2 weeks. But it might go on longer if health problems are there. To cope, parents should be patient. They should keep bedtime routines the same. It helps to soothe your baby back to sleep without feeding them. Make sure they get plenty of playtime during the day. Also, comfort them for teething or if they are feeling scared of being away from you.

The aim is to get through this phase without forming sleep habits that are hard to break later. If you stick to your bedtime plan and show your child you are there, they will likely get over this sleep bump. Then, they can start enjoying good sleep again.

Key Takeaways

  • The 12 month sleep regression is a common occurrence for many babies as they reach their first birthday.
  • This regression is typically associated with significant developmental milestones, such as learning to walk and talk.
  • The regression can last around 2 weeks or less, but may persist longer if an underlying health condition is present.
  • Maintaining consistent bedtime routines, providing physical activity, and addressing separation anxiety are crucial to managing the regression.
  • Staying patient and avoiding the creation of long-term sleep associations can help your child overcome this temporary disruption.

Understanding the 12 Month Sleep Regression

At around 12 months, a baby might suddenly start waking up a lot at night. They might find it hard to fall back asleep, or they may not want to nap. This is called the 12 month sleep regression. It happens because their body and brain are growing fast. They’re learning new things like walking and talking, and this can make sleep time a bit tricky.

What is the 12 Month Sleep Regression?

Many babies who used to sleep well begin waking up a lot around their first birthday. This change might make them wake up at unexpected times. Babies are growing quickly. They are learning new skills, becoming more aware of the world, and this can affect their sleep habits.

Causes of the 12 Month Sleep Regression

Doctors say this change in sleep patterns happens because babies are growing a lot. They’re learning to walk, talk, and they’re becoming more aware. This big leap in development can mess with their sleep. But it’s usually a temporary stage, and they will get back to better nights of sleep.

Duration of the 12 Month Sleep Regression

The 12 month sleep regression usually lasts for about 2 weeks. But sometimes, it might go on longer if there’s a health issue. Knowing that this is a temporary phase can make it easier for parents to handle. Supporting your baby through this time is important.

Identifying Signs of the 12 Month Sleep Regression

As your baby nears their first birthday, you might see changes in their sleep. These changes are due to the 12 month sleep regression. You’ll notice differences in how and when your baby sleeps. Knowing the signs can make this time easier for you both.

Frequent Night Wakings

Babies often wake more at night during the 12 month sleep regression. They might need you to help them get back to sleep. This happens because they are learning and becoming more aware around their first birthday.

Difficulty Falling Asleep

At bedtime or nap time, your baby may not fall asleep easily. They could get fussier or take longer to sleep, even if they’re tired. This might be a bit tiring for you and your baby.

Nap Refusal or Short Naps

Your baby might not want to nap or have shorter naps during this time. This can make them very tired and might affect their night sleeping. Now is the time to notice and adjust their nap routines.

It’s important to know the signs of the 12 month sleep regression. Be patient and keep a routine. With the right steps, you and your baby can get through this to better sleep times.

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Sleep Needs and Schedules for 12 Month Olds

At 12 months, most babies need 11 to 14 hours of sleep. This includes night and naps. The total hours of rest are more important than when they sleep.

Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep Needs

Sleep is key for a 12-month-old’s growth and mood. Use a consistent bedtime. Make the room dark, quiet, and cozy with sleep gear. Tiring them out and soothing fears also improve sleep.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Routine

A regular schedule, fun play, and meeting emotional needs beat sleep hiccups. This ensures babies get the sleep they need and enjoy.

12 Month Sleep Regression and Developmental Milestones

The 12 month sleep regression often happens when babies are turning one. At this time, they start to learn how to walk. They also get better at moving around by holding onto things. This new skill can make them excited and full of energy, which affects their sleep. Babies might wake up during the night and find it hard to sleep again. Their talk and understanding also grow fast now. They might say their first words. All these changes can make it hard for babies to calm down for sleep.

Walking and Mobility Milestones

At 12 months, babies are busy exploring how to walk and move better. They try to stand up and walk around. This new activity can make them too wired to sleep. To help them sleep better, let them play and move a lot during the day.

Language and Communication Development

At the same time, babies are also getting better at talking and expressing themselves. They use their first words to tell you what they want or how they feel. This can make them too excitable and not sleepy at night. If your baby is having trouble sleeping, giving them comfort can help. It might be because they feel anxious when they are not next to you. This, too, shall pass. They just need time to adjust to all the new things they are learning.

Strategies for Managing the 12 Month Sleep Regression

The 12 month sleep regression is tough for parents and babies. But don’t worry, you have some tools to help. These methods will guide your child through this phase and ensure they sleep well.

Stick to Consistent Bedtime Routines

A steady bedtime routine is very important now. Doing things like a warm bath, reading, and singing before sleep can help. It tells your child’s brain and body it’s time to slow down. It makes them feel safe and helps during this time of change.

Provide Opportunities for Physical Activity

Make sure your 12 month old plays a lot during the day. They’re now exploring more and learning new things, like walking. This makes them tired for bed. Include activities like tummy time and crawling to tire them out.

Address Separation Anxiety

At this age, many babies don’t like being away from their parents. It can be hard for them to sleep alone. Using a night light or checking in on them can offer comfort. It helps them feel safe and learn to comfort themselves back to sleep.

Keeping a regular schedule, plenty of play, and comfort during bedtime can ease the 12 month sleep regression. Remember, this time is short. With your love, patience, and a consistent routine, your baby will soon sleep well again.

12 month sleep regression

The 12 month sleep regression is something many parents face. It happens around their baby’s first birthday. This change is normal and connected to big developmental steps like walking and talking.

Your baby might wake up more at night or have trouble sleeping. These issues happen because their brains and bodies are growing fast. This can last for 1-2 weeks.

If you keep a steady bedtime routine, this phase is easier to handle. You should be patient and maintain your sleep rules. This will help your baby sleep well again.

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Every baby is different. Some might have this sleep change at 11 months, others at 14 months. Just stay patient and keep your sleep routines.

To help your baby through this phase, make their sleeping place calm and have a bed routine. Also, deal with any fears your baby might have. Using the right methods will help your family’s sleep go back to normal.

Sleep Training Techniques During the Regression

At the 12 month mark, kids might have trouble sleeping well. This is called the sleep regression. Parents could start or try again some techniques to help. Techniques like “sleep fading” or “chair method” work by slowly reducing how much help a child gets until they sleep alone.

Gentle Sleep Training Methods

“Sleep fading” or “chair method” is about not giving as much help when a child wakes up at night. Parents slowly step back, helping their child learn to sleep by themselves. It takes time and patience but it can work well.

Cry It Out Approach

The “cry it out” method is hard but can work for some kids. If a child knows how to sleep alone, parents can let them cry a bit before comforting. It helps them learn to sleep on their own. This can be tough for moms and dads but it’s a possible choice for babies who already know how to calm themselves.

It’s important to pick a method and stick with it. Changing methods can confuse kids. By choosing a way and being steady, parents can help their child get back to good sleep.

Adjusting Nap Schedules and Transitioning to One Nap

At around 12 months, your baby might change their nap times. They could be ready to switch from two naps to one nap. Signs include refusing the second nap or napping very little. This is a hint to start transitioning to a single daily nap.

Experts suggest moving the whole nap schedule later by 30 minutes. You shouldn’t just drop the second nap. By doing this, your child can still get enough sleep. This avoids them becoming too tired and finding it hard to settle at bedtime. Watch your child’s signals and adjust the timings to make the change easier.

Most children start the one-nap transition between 13-15 months. But, it could happen earlier, from 12 months, or later, up to 18 months. Kids in daycare might shift to one nap around 12 months. They might not be completely ready for it, though.

A clear sign it’s time for one nap is if the afternoon nap starts getting difficult. This can mean not wanting to nap, taking long to sleep, or napping briefly. To help, move the morning nap 30 minutes later every three days. Keep doing this until it’s in the afternoon. That’s a good time for the single nap.

For a one-nap schedule, a nap should last 1.5 to 3 hours. Most naps will stretch to 2-2.5 hours. The best time for this nap is around 12:00-2:00/2:30 pm when bedtime should be around 7:00 pm. Try to nap at noon every day after the switch to keep the pattern.

Having a set routine for the one-nap time is key. This ensures your baby or toddler gets enough sleep every day.

Creating a Sleep-Friendly Environment

To help your child sleep better during the 12 month sleep regression, set up a sleep-friendly room. Making a few changes to where they sleep can make a big difference. It can help them fall asleep easier and stay asleep all night.

Blackout Curtains and White Noise

It’s important to block out things that might disturb sleep. Put up blackout curtains to keep any bright light out. Also, use a white noise machine. Keep it at a calm volume (not higher than 50dB) to make a peaceful sleep setting.

Comfortable Sleep Sacks or Swaddles

Put your child in a soft sleep sack or swaddle. It gives them comfort and makes sleep easier. These items feel like they are back in the womb. This feeling is very comforting, especially during the 12 month sleep regression.

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Use these ideas to make a great place to sleep. Add blackout curtains, white noise, and cozy sleep sacks or swaddles. Along with a regular bedtime, they can all help your child sleep better during this time. You are helping your child move through this phase smoothly.

Self-Care for Parents During Sleep Regressions

The 12 month sleep regression is tough on parents. It tests you both physically and emotionally. So, it’s important to take care of yourself. This helps you be there for your child better.

Seeking Support and Taking Breaks

Talk to family, friends, or a sleep consultant for advice. They can offer help with chores, meals, or even a friendly ear. Don’t forget to take short breaks for yourself. It’s crucial for preventing burnout.

Managing Stress and Fatigue

Making sure you rest well, eat right, and have time for you helps a lot. Use techniques like deep breathing or writing to manage stress. This lets you be patient and positive for your child. When you’re okay, you can help your child sleep better too.


The 12 month sleep regression is a tough phase many parents deal with. But it’s not forever. This time is linked to big changes in the baby’s growth. Knowing what’s going on, you can help your child get back to sleeping well.

Keep regular daily habits for your baby. Let them move a lot during the day. Make sure they feel safe when away from you, and the room they sleep in is calm. Taking care of yourself is also very important. This way, you all can handle the tough times and come out stronger.

The 12 month sleep regression is a step in your child’s journey. You can guide them through by being steady, supporting what they need, and looking after yourself too. This helps your baby to enjoy good sleep and grow well.


What is the 12 month sleep regression?

The 12 month sleep regression is when babies start to wake up more often. It happens around their first birthday. This can be due to learning new skills like walking and talking.

What causes the 12 month sleep regression?

It is linked to the big milestones the children reach at this age. These milestones include becoming mobile and learning more words.

How long does the 12 month sleep regression last?

It usually lasts about 2 weeks. Sometimes, it can go on for longer. This might be because of a health issue.

What are the signs of the 12 month sleep regression?

Signs include waking up often at night and trouble sleeping. Your baby may also refuse to nap or take short naps.

How much sleep does a 12 month old baby need?

A 12 month old typically needs 11 to 14 hours of sleep. This can be at night or during naps.

How can I create a sleep-friendly environment during the 12 month sleep regression?

Use things like blackout curtains and white noise machines. They can help block out noise and light. Also, swaddles and sleep sacks make babies feel safe.

What strategies can I use to manage the 12 month sleep regression?

Stick to a bedtime routine. Let your child play a lot during the day. Also, help them feel secure if they are afraid to be away from you.

Should I consider sleep training during the 12 month sleep regression?

Sleep training might be a good idea to try again. You could use methods like letting your baby calm themselves. Or try gradually reducing how much help they need to fall asleep.

How can I adjust my child’s nap schedule during the 12 month sleep regression?

If your baby is fighting naps or napping very little, adjust the schedule. Move the naps and bedtime a bit later, keeping the two naps if possible.

How can I take care of myself during the 12 month sleep regression?

Take care of yourself by asking for help from others. Make sure to rest, eat well, and do things that relax you. This can help you deal with the tiredness and stress better.