22 Month Sleep Regression: The Advice You Need To Know

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 08/29/23 •  Sleep / Sleep Regressions

Is your child suddenly fighting sleep? Being fussy? Struggling to settle? The 22 month sleep regression has arrived. Here’s what that means, and what exhausted parents need to know to get through it.

What Is The 22 Month Sleep Regression?

How Long Does The 22 Month Sleep Regression Last?

The 22 month sleep regression, like all sleep regressions, commonly lasts between 2 and 6 weeks depending on the trigger.

22 Month Sleep Regression Featured

22 Month Sleep Regression Signs

If you suspect your little one is experiencing a 22 month sleep regression, here are some of the signs that will confirm your suspicions:

So, if you are nodding your head in agreement whilst reading this list… Then your little one is almost certainly experiencing a sleep regression.

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly through a healthy nighttime routine? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

Causes Of The 22 Month Sleep Regression

The reasons your 22 month old is going through a sleep regression are very varied. Not every reason will affect every child but here is a list of the most common causes:

Causes Of The 22 Month Sleep Regression

1. They Are Reaching Big Physical, Mental And Emotional Developmental Milestones

A lot is going on developmentally at this age with your little one perfecting the art of walking, climbing and talking. There is a lot going on cognitively as well as they become increasingly aware of the world around them and their place in it.

And their expanding language skills will mean they can come up with all sorts of reasons why they should not go to bed. All that extra brain and body activity can easily disrupt their sleep resulting in a 22 month sleep regression!

2. Newfound Independence

Your toddler’s growing independence at this age may make them push and resist boundaries around naps and bedtimes, resulting in them becoming overtired and finding it difficult to settle and or stay asleep.

As a result, bedtimes can easily become a battleground and your toddler can easily get hyper before bed or have tantrums.

3. Their Sleep Needs Are Changing

Around this age, you may need to adjust daytime sleep, especially if newfound skills are making them more tired. If they have started daycare they may need more sleep for a while as they adjust to the new routine.

Alternatively, some 22 month olds may only need 1 long nap during the day.

4. Their Environment And Sleep Routines Have Changed

Moving house, the arrival of a new sibling, going on holiday or visiting family overnight can all trigger a sleep regression.

Any significant changes in routine could also upset an established sleep schedule such as starting daycare, parents returning to work or the primary caregiver changing.

Here is a handy video about helping your toddler navigate the arrival of a new sibling.

5. Your Toddler Is Experiencing Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can occur at any age and as a result, it may make it difficult for your little one to fall asleep alone and to become distressed when they wake up and discover you’re not with them.

6. Your Toddler Is Hungry

With all the increased physical activity that your 22 month old is capable of they may need more calories to keep them going. This can result in them waking more often due to hunger so you need to keep an eye on their calorie intake during the day and especially at the end of the day.

7. They’re Teething Or Unwell

Your toddler’s first molars may start to erupt at this age. If your little one is experiencing pain due to teething their sleep is very likely to be disrupted for a short while and although this is not a true sleep regression in itself, it may trigger one.

Investing in a teething toy can help soothe your toddler resulting in helping them sleep better!

And just like teething, illness may cause a sleep disruption for a short period of time and although this is not a true sleep regression, sickness can trigger a brief one as your little one may have been used to you responding to every cry or unsettled sleep while they were unwell.

8. They Have Started Potty Training

Another big developmental milestone for this age group is potty training. While some will sail through this phase, others will struggle which can result in them becoming more cranky and stubborn, especially with sleep issues.

How Much Sleep Do 22 Month Olds Need?

Your 22 month old will need about 12.5 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Most of this will be taken at night… however, your child will still need a 1 ½ to 2-hour afternoon nap.

Tips To Get Through The 22 Month Sleep Regression

So now that we know some of the reasons why our toddler may be experiencing a 22 month sleep regression… how can we help them through this phase?

22 Month Sleep Regression Tips

Stick To Your Routines

I cannot stress how maintaining a healthy daily and consistent bedtime routine will help to keep you sane and keep your little one’s healthy development on track.

It goes without saying that ensuring your little one gets consistent cues in preparation for sleep will go a long way in helping your little one fall asleep during a sleep regression. And a regular bedtime and nap routine will do just that.

I know life gets in the way sometimes, but being super vigilant about nap times, meal times and bedtimes, during a 22 month sleep regression will make your life so much easier during this time.

So, if you have to cancel a few plans over the coming weeks to ensure you’re at home for naps and bedtime, it will be worth it in the long run.

Get Outside Every Day

Fresh air is a great way to ensure your toddler gets some physical exercise and an opportunity to practise their new skills such as walking, running and climbing.

Fresh air also helps to stabilize their circadian rhythm (and as a result, stabilise their sleep cycles too!).

Restrict Screen Time

Too much screen time in the lead-up to bedtime has been proven to have a detrimental effect on young children’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep as the blue light inhibits melatonin production.

So in the lead-up to bedtime, you should avoid screen exposure for at least an hour prior to lights out.

Have Lots Of Cuddles

Sleep regressions can sometimes make your little one feel less secure. And especially if they’re teething or feeling under the weather, offering extra cuddles and snuggle time can help reassure and comfort them as they navigate this tricky phase.

Get Smart About Early Morning Waking

While it’s perfectly normal for toddlers to wake up between 6am and 7am… a 5am wake-up is not really ideal.

You can therefore, teach your little one to stay in bed a little longer by using a specially designed colour-coded clock and making sure they have something to play with in their room for when they wake in the morning.

My Top Pick
MELLA Ready to Rise Children's Sleep Trainer

MELLA is the #1 most backed kid's clock and all-in-one Ready to Rise children's sleep trainer designed to keep your kid in bed longer. MELLA is a sleep trainer, alarm clock, sleep sounds machine, night light and nap timer rolled into one adorable package!

Studies show that children do not fully understand the concept of time until around 8 years old, so MELLA uses colours and facial expressions to teach your kid when it's time for bed and when it's okay to wake up. With MELLA, your kid can learn to stay in bed longer, giving you more sleep!

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Teach Your Little One To Self-Settle

If you have not done so already, try and teach your little one to self-settle. Allow them to spend time playing in their cribs or a playpen during awake times and put them down whilst drowsy and not fast asleep.

Keep Nighttime Interactions Low-Key

If your little one wakes at night then it’s super important to keep your interactions low-key. Have the lights down low and do not chat to

them. A night light is a great investment as it stops you from having to turn on a light when visiting them at night.

My Top Pick
Toddler Night Light Lamp By LICKLIP

Finding the right night light for your child can be quite a task. You want something safe, comforting, and practical. The Cozy Starry Night Light ticks these boxes, with eye-friendly warm lighting and an easy-to-use dimmer.

Its gentle glow makes it the best night light for feeding baby, diaper changes, or comforting your little one back to sleep.

As your baby grows the Cozy Starry Night Light's starry sky projection can provide comfort and gentle quiet time stimulation. Its soft lighting ensures a dreamy, peaceful environment, supporting your baby’s natural sleep cycle.

It really is a fantastic nightlight (at a very reasonable price!)

  • Eye-friendly warm lighting with adjustable brightness.
  • Includes a timer function for convenience.
  • Projects a starry sky that is soothing for little ones.
  • Rechargeable battery, so it's very portable.
  • A USB adapter is not included for charging.
  • The star projector is static without motion (however, this is ideal for very young babies and toddlers).
  • Battery life varies based on the brightness settings.
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Make Up For Poor Nighttime Sleep With Extra Naps During The Day

This can be a tricky phase when it comes to naps and you might be tempted to drop naps in the hope that your toddler will be more tired for bed and sleep better at night.

However, as I say over and over, less daytime sleep does NOT mean better nighttime sleep.

In fact, the complete opposite happens.

An overtired toddler is not going to go to bed peacefully or quietly.

Their bodies will be stressed and full of adrenaline…

And this is not ideal when getting ready for bed because your little one will be hyper instead.

If your toddler is transitioning from 2 naps to 1, you need to make sure that their nap is taken at a consistent time each day (preferably after lunch) and that they have had an adequately active morning to be ready for sleep.

Make Their Sleep Space More Conducive To Sleep

Now your little one getting older they will be more easily woken by sleep distractions and noise. So, darken the bedroom using blackout blinds and use a nightlight.

During a 22 month sleep regression your little one needs to be sleeping in a calm, dimly lit room.

Using a white noise machine can eliminate background noise from disturbing their sleep too. They will help to ensure that sudden changes in noise will have less of an impact on your sleeping toddler.

My Top Pick
Dreamegg White Noise Machine - 21 Soothing Sounds

White noise machines are a game-changer for your little one's sleep and having one that plays all night is a must. With a long-lasting battery, this compact and stylish white noise machine contains 21 non-stop relaxing noises, which will lull your little one to sleep night after night, no matter where you are!

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Help Your Little One Practice New Skills

It is important that you give your toddler plenty of opportunity to practice any new skills during wake times so that they are not desperate to do so when they should be sleeping.

Provide them with toys to help them walk, opportunities to learn to climb safely, play with construction toys such as building blocks and try simple puzzles too.

Read lots of books to encourage speech and cognitive development.

Paula's Pick
Lovevery Building Block Set

Possibly the most comprehensive wooden block set ever created!

This beautiful and brilliantly designed wood block set promotes spatial, language, and problem-solving skills through bright and solid wood building blocks, planks, shapes, people, magnetic wheels and dowels with a toggle string. All are safely kept in a wooden storage box and a cotton drawstring bag for storage at the end of a busy day!

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Frequently Asked Questions About The 22 Month Sleep Regression

Looking for more information about the 22 month sleep regression? Check out the most commonly asked questions here.

Why Is My 22 Month Old Suddenly Waking At Night?

If your 22 month old has been sleeping beautifully and suddenly starts having more night wakings this may be due to a number of reasons including teething, achieving a developmental milestone, starting day care or changing sleep needs.

While you should always rule out any illness that may be affecting your little one, if all is well then you should deal with your little one’s nighttime waking and or nap resistance as a toddler sleep regression and follow the tips listed above.

How Will I Know When The 22 Month Sleep Regression Is Over?

When your toddler settles back into a settled sleep routine consisting of regular daytime naps and bedtime with little to no waking at night, you can safely say that the regression has passed.

Why Won’t My 22 Month Old Go To Sleep?

It is very common at 22 months for your little one to experience separation anxiety and as a result, they will find you leaving them at bedtime, nap time and coping with nighttime wakings very difficult.

In addition, if you have not yet taught your little one to fall asleep alone they will not like it if you have now decided that they should do so.

Overtiredness which manifests itself as hyperactivity will also cause issues at bedtime and you may need to take a close look at your little one’s nap schedule and wake windows.

Finally, if your little one is exposed to screens in the two hours leading up to bedtime this may also be the reason they are struggling to fall asleep.

What Is The Average Bedtime For A 22 Month Old?

I recommend a regular bedtime between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. But a bedtime anytime between 6-8pm is fine for this age depending on their daily schedule and your family routine. The most important thing is that bedtime is at the same time every night.

What Can I Give My 22 Month Old To Help Them Sleep?

In order to help your toddle to sleep you can offer them any or a combination of the following:

I would not recommend any kind of sleeping sedative (even natural) at this age. Rather try the suggestions in this post to ensure your little one has the best opportunity to be primed and ready for sleep.

When Do I Need To Talk To A Doctor About The 22 Month Sleep Regression?

If you are unsure if your little one’s change in sleep patterns is due to a sleep regression, watch for the following signs. If they are present then you should consult a doctor:

If your little one has a persistent fever or a cough which is waking them at night you should also consult a medical practitioner. I would also recommend seeking medical advice or a sleep consultant if your little one’s sleep issues continue for more than 6 weeks.

What Does A 22 Month Old Sleep Schedule Look Like?

A 22 month old will take 12-13 hours of sleep at night and have about 1 to 2 hours of sleep during a daytime nap. To learn more about the 22 month old sleep schedule click here: 2 Year Old Sleep Schedule.

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about sleep regressions and how to handle them at different ages, check out these posts:

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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