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Two Year Sleep Regression: Is It Real?

Updated on March 1, 2013

Do All Two Year Olds Go Through a Sleep Regression?

Jack is normally a very well-adjusted, very well-rested two year old boy. Past supposed sleep regressions never really affected him; there are several in the first few years of life that he sailed right through. But shortly after he hit 2 year old--bam. One was staring us in the face.

Sleep regressions in a two year old can present themselves in several ways. Maybe you child is falling asleep too late or waking too early. Maybe he or she is waking in the middle of the night. Maybe you're getting hit with all three scenarios (yikes!).

Has your two year old suffered through a sleep regression? Read on for my story.

Image property of the author. All rights reserved.

This Isn't a Sleep Regression...Is It?

My 2 year old son has developed sleeping problems

"Surely he can't be going through a sleep regression...he's never experienced one before". These are the thoughts that are currently going through my head, as my normally solid 12-hour sleeper of a two year old boy lays awake, babbling, two hours after his bed time. Usually, Jack is conked out between 7:45 and 8:00 p.m., but here we are--at 9:30 p.m.--and he's still going strong in his crib, playing with his Micky Mouse and stuffed dog. He's having a helluva conversation, too, and it doesn't seem he's going to fall asleep anytime soon.

I can't be 100% sure it's an actual sleep regression -- who knows if it will go back to "normal" or if this is our new "normal". Maybe it's just a phase. Time will tell.

Have You Experienced Any Sleep Regressions in Your Child's Life? - Let us know about your two year sleep regression, or any other regression!

Have You Experienced Any Sleep Regressions in Your Child's Life?

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What Is a Sleep Regression?

Jack's Interpretation of a 2 Year Sleep Regression
Jack's Interpretation of a 2 Year Sleep Regression

How is This Regression Affecting Our Lives?

Why is this happening?

What does a sleep regression mean to me?

I've done a bit of research on the two year old sleep regression. From what I've gathered, it's typical to past sleep regressions: they are making huge cognitive steps (i.e. getting smarter! getting older!) which is resulting in lighter and disrupted sleep. Apparently the theme around this stage of the game is "separateness". They are becoming more aware that they can be separated from us parents and are starting to understand how big this world can be. It can lead to a bit of anxiety and overall restlessness when it comes to nighttime.

What does this mean to Jack?

Instead of sleeping from 7:45 p.m. until about 7:30/8:00 a.m., he's been falling asleep for about 15 minutes at night only to wake up for the next 60-90 minutes. During this time, he'll play with his stuffed animals in his crib or just babble to himself. I often hear him (via the monitor) reciting his (memorized) books out loud. Around 9:00 p.m., he will fall asleep.

Instead of waking around 7:30/8:00 a.m., he'll sometimes now wake as early as 6:00 a.m. He's ok to be left there awhile, but if he's left too long he'll get bored. And then he starts doing what you see in the picture!

In terms of his demeanor, he's generally much the same until we hit about 6:15 p.m.; he turns into a cranky child instantly! He is argumentative and whiney--you can tell he's very tired.

Helpful Reads on Sleep for Children - Two great resources

These two books came highly recommended to me concerning sleep in babies and children. I actually have Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and found it supremely helpful when my son was an infant (he was extremely colicky).

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep, 3rd Edition
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep, 3rd Edition

This was my go-to book for the first 12 months of his life; I'll be checking it out again!


Two Year Sleep Regression

LNAngel's Bio

Two Year Sleep Regression is lens #140 for the author.

I'd love to hear how your two year old sleep regression went. How long did it last? Any tips and tricks?

Have You Gone Through a Two Year Sleep Regression? - Share your story--how long did it last?

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    • canhealth profile image


      4 years ago

      I've never heard of sleep regression, I hope Jack is doing better now.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      LNAngel, my 26.5 month old is your kid TO A T! She never had sleep regression at any other time in her life.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I honestly think all 3 of mine did this at one point or another, so I thought it was normal.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am sure my kid had some sleep regression as a 2 year old but I probably didnt realize it and just took it as it hit me...

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I may be a granny now but I do remember those night when I would fall asleep with my head on the crib patting my sons backs. I am just happy those days are over!!

    • bigjoe2121 profile image


      5 years ago

      I don't remember Joe ever going through anything like this, but what I did was go to bed with him at night and keep him in my bed (from 9 monhts on) and then just get up earlier than him in the morning for mommy daddy time and just mommy time. It seemed to work well. That's what I plan on doing with Broin too, but Broin is a much lighter sleeper so he may stay in a crib next to my bed.


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