8 Month Sleep Regression: What Causes It & What to Do to Get Past It

Jul 1, 2023

As a sleep consultant, I receive numerous inquiries from exhausted parents seeking advice on sleep regressions. The 8-month sleep regression is especially difficult for babies and parents. It typically occurs when babies are around eight months old, leading to sleep disturbances and exhaustion. If you have a baby who is currently experiencing the 8-month sleep regression, don’t despair! In this blog post, I’ll provide an in-depth understanding of what causes this regression, the signs to look out for, and actionable tips to help you easily navigate this phase.

What is the 8-month sleep regression?

The term “8-month sleep regression” refers to a temporary disruption in a baby’s sleep patterns that typically occurs around the age of 8 months. While the exact causes of sleep regressions are not fully understood, they are believed to be related to developmental milestones and changes in a baby’s brain and body.

At around eight months, babies go through significant cognitive, physical, and emotional changes, such as increased mobility, separation anxiety, and advancements in their language and social skills.

During the 8-month sleep regression, babies may wake up more frequently at night, have trouble settling back to sleep, or resist going to bed altogether. It can be a challenging time for both babies and their parents, as disrupted sleep patterns can lead to tiredness and fatigue.

Signs of the 8-month sleep regression

If you have a feeling that your baby is going through the sleep regression at 8 months, there are various indications to be aware of. Some of the most common include difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently throughout the night, shorter naps, and refusal to nap. You may also notice increased fussiness, irritability, and separation anxiety exhibited by your baby during the day. If you spot any of these signs or a combination of them, it is likely your baby is going through the 8-month sleep regression.

Differentiating between the 8-month sleep regression, teething, separation anxiety, and hunger can be challenging at times, though, as these factors can sometimes overlap and have similar symptoms. However, there are a few signs that can help you identify if it’s more likely to be the 8-month sleep regression:

  1. Change in sleep patterns: If your baby previously had a relatively consistent sleep routine but suddenly starts waking up frequently during the night or has difficulty falling asleep, it could indicate a sleep regression. Teething, separation anxiety, and hunger might cause disruptions as well, but if there are no other obvious signs of these issues, it could be a regression.
  2. Increased fussiness or irritability during sleep: If your baby appears restless, and wakes up crying or fussing during sleep, but doesn’t show clear signs of discomfort or hunger, it might be related to a sleep regression.
  3. Nap resistance or shortened naps: The 8-month sleep regression can also affect daytime naps. If your baby starts resisting naps or their nap durations become significantly shorter, it may suggest a regression rather than teething, separation anxiety, or hunger alone. At this age, children should be on two naps a day. Download a sample nap schedule here for an 8-month-old.
  4. Lack of other teething symptoms: Teething can cause discomfort, drooling, swollen gums, and an increased desire to chew on objects. If your baby doesn’t exhibit these typical teething signs but experiences sleep disturbances, it could be more likely related to a sleep regression.
  5. Consistency in hunger cues: Babies experiencing a growth spurt or hunger-related issues may show consistent signs of hunger, such as increased appetite during the day, rooting or sucking on hands, or showing signs of hunger shortly after feeding. If your baby’s sleep disruptions are not accompanied by consistent hunger cues, it might indicate a sleep regression. Remember, babies still need 24-32oz of milk in a given 24 hour period for optimal growth their whole first year. Our stomach size chart can help identify how much they should be taking with each feeding.

How long does the 8-month sleep regression last

The duration of the 8-month sleep regression can vary from baby to baby. While some babies may experience it for a few weeks, others may go through a more extended period of disrupted sleep. On average, the regression tends to last around 2-6 weeks.

It’s important to keep in mind that every baby is unique, and their sleep regression experiences can differ. Some babies may have mild disruptions, while others may experience more significant changes in their sleep patterns. Additionally, external factors such as parenting approaches, sleep routines, and individual development can also influence the duration of the regression.

How to get over the 8-month sleep regression

Getting through the 8-month sleep regression can be challenging, but there are strategies you can try to help your baby and yourself during this period:

  • Stick to a consistent routine: By establishing a consistent sleep routine; you can help your baby feel more secure and calm, which can help with their sleep.
  • Ensure your baby’s sleeping environment is conducive to sleep: Keep the sleeping area dark, comfortable, and not too hot or cold. The ideal temperature for baby to sleep well is here.
  • Implement a precise bedtime routine: An established bedtime routine signals to your baby that it’s time to go to sleep.
  • Try not to overstimulate your baby:  A more relaxed environment as bedtime approaches and throughout the night will contribute to your baby’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Consider sleep training with the help of a sleep consultant {that’s us! Book a free discovery call here} Sleep training methods tailored to your baby’s needs and your parenting style can have a lasting positive effect on the whole family.

It is common for your baby to experience sleep regression phases during the first year of life. These phases can be stressful and exhausting, but they should be temporary. The 8-month sleep regression is no exception. Remember, although it can feel challenging, with patience and consistency, your baby will thank you for it. How you feel from waking to support your baby that won’t sleep through the night is how they feel too, they are just unable to express it. You are doing your best and we are here to help, if and when you should need it.