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How To Survive The 3-year Sleep Regression

Toddlers are amazing creatures. They're funny, smart, and full of energy. But one thing they're not always great at is sleeping. And the 3-year sleep regression is a real thing.

Toddler portrait
Girl with animal hat

If you're in the middle of it, you know what I'm talking about. Your once-good sleeper is now waking up multiple times a night, refusing to nap, and fighting bedtime. It can be exhausting for everyone involved.

But don't worry, you're not alone. And there are things you can do to help your toddler through this sleep regression.

What is the 3-year sleep regression?

The 3-year sleep regression is a period of time when toddlers experience sleep problems. It typically starts around age 3 and can last for a few weeks or up to a few months.

There are a few reasons why toddlers may experience a sleep regression at this age:

  • Developmental changes: They're learning new skills, developing their language, and becoming more independent.

  • Growing imagination: This can lead to nightmares and fears, which can wake them up in the middle of the night.

  • Environmental changes: A new bed, a new room, or a new caregiver, can also disrupt toddlers' sleep.

Here are some tips for helping your toddler through the 3-year sleep regression:

1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule:

Put your child to bed and wake them up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help to regulate their body's natural sleep-wake cycle.

2. Create a calming bedtime routine:

This could include a bath, brushing teeth, reading a story, and singing a lullaby. A calming bedtime routine will help your child to wind down and prepare for sleep.

3. Make sure your child's bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool:

Darkness helps to promote the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Noise and light can disrupt sleep, so it's important to create a quiet and dark environment for your child to sleep in.

4. Avoid screen time before bed:

The blue light emitted from screens can interfere with sleep. It's best to avoid screen time for at least an hour before bedtime.

5. Handle nighttime awakenings with care:

Avoid turning on the lights or talking to them too much. This will help them to learn to fall back asleep on their own.

6. Ensure adequate daytime exercise:

Exercise can help to improve sleep quality at night.

Remember, you're not alone. And the 3-year sleep regression is temporary. With your help, your toddler will get through this and be back to sleeping soundly again soon.


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