Understanding and Managing the 15-Month Sleep Regression

15 month sleep regression

Sleep regression is a term familiar to many parents, referring to a period when a baby or toddler’s sleep patterns are disrupted. It’s a common phase that can occur around various developmental milestones, causing night wakings, difficulties falling asleep, and disrupted sleep schedules. Today, we’re diving into the 15-month sleep regression, a challenging phase for both toddlers and their caregivers. This regression can be tough. You may have JUST gone through the 12-month sleep regression and now you are faced with another one. Time is just blending together, but suddenly, your baby isn’t a baby anymore. He or she may be more demanding and independent as they enter toddlerhood! They know what they want and they want it now! Despite its name, sleep regressions can happen even after a baby turns one, affecting their sleep habits and leaving parents searching for solutions.

What is Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression is a temporary disruption in a child’s sleep patterns. It’s characterized by difficulties in falling asleep, frequent night wakings, and changes in nap time routines. While it can be frustrating for parents, it’s essential to understand that sleep regression is often a sign of developmental progress in children.

15 Month Sleep Regression

At 15 months, toddlers may experience a significant sleep regression. Between cutting teeth, wanting to figure out their place in the world, and controlling the uncontrollable, the 15-month sleep regression can feel overwhelming. Your toddler may be suddenly waking up during the night or waking up frequently during the night. Naps might be crumbling and may be short causing an overtired toddler who is ready to take on the world! Take a deep breath. What sets the 15-month sleep regression apart is the combination of cognitive and physical developmental milestones that can affect a toddler’s sleep habits.

During the 15-month sleep regression, toddlers are reaching important developmental milestones, such as increased mobility, language development, and growing independence. These milestones can lead to disruptions in sleep as toddlers may struggle to settle down at bedtime or wake up more frequently during the night. Additionally, you may be considering whether it is time to go through a nap transition. The transition from two naps to one nap can also contribute to changes in sleep patterns, further exacerbating the regression. For more information on Nap Transition, check out our blog! 

15 month sleep regression

15-Month Sleep Regression Signs

During the 15-month sleep regression, parents may notice the following signs:

  • Increased night wakings
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Shorter naps or resisting nap time
  • Increased irritability and fussiness
  • Changes in appetite

How Long Does 15-Month Sleep Regression Last?

The duration of the 15-month sleep regression can vary from child to child. On average, it may last anywhere from two to six weeks. However, some toddlers may experience longer periods of sleep regression. It’s essential for parents to remain patient and consistent with bedtime routines during this time.

15 Month Sleep Regression Tips

Managing the 15-month sleep regression can be challenging, but there are strategies parents can use to help their toddlers navigate this phase:

  1. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine: A consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your toddler that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Continuing to dress your child in a sleep sack will signal that it’s time for sleep. A huge benefit of sleep sacks at this age is that they can prevent escape artists from climbing out of the crib as they become more mobile. Include calming activities such as reading a book or taking a warm bath to help them relax before bedtime. 
  2. Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment: Ensure that your toddler’s sleep environment is conducive to sleep. Keep the room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. At 15 months, it is still important to keep all light out of your child’s room and continue using blackout shades. Exposure to light, even a small amount, can disrupt their sleep. Continuous white noise masks disruptive sounds for both naps and nighttime. 

PRO TIP: If you have an apple watch, use the NOISE app in your child’s room to check the environmental noise level. While standing by your child’s crib or bed, your watch will indicate whether the noise machine volume is within a safe decibel meter or not, and you can adjust accordingly. 

  1. Encourage Daytime Physical Activity: Engaging in physical activity during the day can help tire out your toddler and promote better sleep at night. Take them to the park, encourage active play, or go for a walk together to help them expend energy. Utilize awake time to work on walking, climbing, talking, or whatever milestone they are trying to master! 
  2. Monitor Awake Time and Nap Schedule: Pay attention to your toddler’s awake time and nap schedule. Adjusting nap times and wake windows can help prevent overtiredness, which can contribute to sleep regression. Do not panic and completely change your child’s schedule during a regression. You want to remain as consistent as possible, while supporting their overtiredness. Aim for balance and consistency. 
  3. Be Consistent with Sleep Training Techniques: If you’ve previously used sleep training techniques continue to be consistent with them during the 15-month sleep regression. Even if your child is doing something “out of the norm” like standing up in the crib or crying out in the middle of the night, consistency will be key to getting them back on track. 

By implementing these tips and staying patient and consistent, parents can help their toddlers navigate the 15-month sleep regression more smoothly. Remember that every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Trust your instincts as a parent and seek support from healthcare professionals if needed.

15 month sleep regression

The 15-month sleep regression can be a challenging phase for both toddlers and parents, but it’s essential to remember that it’s temporary. By understanding the signs, knowing how long it typically lasts, and implementing effective strategies, parents can help their toddlers develop healthy sleep habits and navigate this developmental milestone with ease.

Some kids will fly past regressions without it affecting their ability to fall asleep or stay asleep, and other kids will hit every single sleep regression. Please know that you are not alone. For more information on sleep regressions at different ages, check out our posts on the 18-month sleep regression and 3-year sleep regression

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting 

Are you in the midst of a sleep regression and unsure how to navigate it? Or are you just exhausted in general? If you’re going through a rough patch with your sleep, Sleep Shore is here to help. We offer one-on-one sleep support for newborns, infants, and toddlers. Whether you’re dealing with early morning wakings, bedtime resistance, or sleep regressions, our goal is to teach your baby to self-soothe and get healthy sleep for the whole family! See what this mama had to say about our sleep services below: 

“Working with Rachel the last few weeks has been a great experience! She is a mother of two toddlers herself, so she really understands the different sleep challenges that can occur from the newborn stage on. Rachel helped me with my 1 and 2-year-old’s sleep schedules in order to combat early morning wakings, and gave me practical tips on how to avoid crib climbing and boundary-pushing. She is knowledgeable, dedicated, and passionate about helping families. I highly recommend Rachel to anyone who needs support!”

-MOM OF A 1 AND 2-YEAR OLD

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