Your baby’s been sleeping through the night when suddenly — WHAM.
You have a night owlet on your hands.
Welcome to the 8-month sleep regression.
This can be particularly frustrating if they were just starting to sleep through the night (meaning in 6 to 8-hour stints).
But there’s some good news here.
A sleep regression does not mean that all your progress has been wasted.
In fact, some experts are reluctant to call it a regression at all.
Rather, it’s a sleep disruption that usually has something to do with the fact that your baby has entered a new chapter in their life.
They may be teething, going through a growth spurt, or hitting a developmental milestone like sitting, walking, or crawling.
It’s not a change in their ability to sleep, and it doesn’t mean that any sleep training you’ve done has been for nothing.
Basically, you’re not going backward.
You’ve just hit a bump in the road.
With that in mind, we’re going to take you through what might be causing your baby’s sleep issues, how long this phase could last, and (most importantly) how to survive it all.
In this article: 📝
- Why is my 8-month-old suddenly refusing to sleep?
- 8-month sleep regression or teething?
- What are the signs of 8-month sleep regression?
- How long does 8-month sleep regression last?
- How to survive 8-month sleep regression?
- What time should an 8-month-old baby go to sleep?
- 8-month sleep regression: the final word
Why is my 8-month-old suddenly refusing to sleep?
Babies come in different makes and models — and each one has their own unique design when it comes to sleep.
But somewhere between 8 months and 10 months, it’s common for babies to go through sleep regressions as they experience developmental leaps and learn how to adapt to a more adult sleep schedule.
Other common times for sleep regressions to happen?
4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months.
(But again, all babies are different.
So if yours doesn’t follow this schedule to the letter, not to worry.)
So what’s going on at 8 months that calls for this adventure in sleep aversion?
As it turns out, quite a lot.
First up, they’re developing a greater awareness of their environment, encountering so many firsts as they go about their waking life.
This can lead to overstimulation, making it harder for them to shut off at sleep times.
They’re also learning a bunch of new skills, including crawling, babbling, and learning to sit without support.
Along with these new physical skills come several cognitive developments.
For example, they’re just learning the concept of object permanence — that people and things don’t disappear when you can’t see and hear them.
(This also means they become more attached to you — more on this below.)
All this is very thrilling — but can make it harder for them to shut off when they need to.
They’re also figuring out how to sleep like a grown-up, with longer periods of deeper sleep.
An 8-month-old sleep schedule usually involves 12 to 15 hours of sleep a day, which includes two naps and (hopefully!) a stretch of about 6 to 8 hours at night.
But their new nap schedules and changes to their routine can take some getting used to — and it’s not always a smooth passage.
So nap transitions could be one reason for the sleep disturbance at night.
If they’re suddenly bawling their eyes out every time you leave the room or when a stranger takes your attention away, it might be separation anxiety.
And if it is, they’ll let you know about it when you put them down for naps or their nighttime snooze!
Although this can be really stressful, it’s a normal part of a baby’s development, and it’s not likely to stick around forever.
8-month sleep regression or teething?
The reality is it could be both.
Sleep and teething are very linked.
The bottom and top front teeth (lower and upper central incisors) tend to come out somewhere around this time.
And this can have a direct impact on your baby’s ability to get the zzz’s they need.
What are the signs of 8-month sleep regression?
8-month sleep regression signs include:
- Doing everything in their power to fight sleep
- Waking up multiple times in the night
- Increased fussiness and crying, both when they’re asleep and when they’re awake
How long does 8-month sleep regression last?
Sleep regressions usually last somewhere between three and six weeks.
Don’t worry — this too shall pass.
If it goes on for longer than this — or you’re just worried — it’s worth checking in with your doctor.
It could be a sign of infection, illness, or something else not entirely within the typical milestones.
How to survive 8-month sleep regression?
OK, first — breathe.
You can do this.
Then, here are some tips to help you and your little one get through this period:
Put them down to sleep when they are drowsy but still awake.
The goal is to get them to figure out how to get from one state to the other on their own.
Get them as sleep ready as possible before they’re tired.
That means fed, changed, and in a comfy outfit that will mean they’re not too hot or too cold.
Basically, try to eliminate all potential obstacles to drifting off.
Rock them, roll them, cuddle them.
Particularly if it’s separation anxiety that’s at the root of the sleep woes, comfort is all-important.
And it’s never too early to start getting into a bedtime routine.
Stick to a semblance of schedule.
We know this may sound like a pipe dream right now.
But as best you can, try to get them to bed at the same time every night.
Same goes for naps.
(Babies actually love routine.)
If they wake up, give them a moment before running to them.
They may very well drift off again on their own.
If you’ve started sleep training, you can continue this through the sleep regression.
And if you haven’t yet, it’s a good time to begin.
Sleep training is by no means mandatory, but particularly if they’re having sleep trouble, there are many methods out there that can help them learn to get to sleep on their own.
We’ll take you through the details here.
And while you’re doing all this, remember to create a safe sleep space.
That means giving them their own sleep space, like a crib or bassinet, putting them to sleep on their backs, and making sure that there isn’t any soft bedding or loose toys in their bed with them.
What time should an 8-month-old baby go to sleep?
There are no hard-and-fast rules here.
Different families have different needs and schedules.
Some things to consider as you decide on your baby’s bedtime?
Schedule bedtime for about three hours after their last nap.
That way, their snooze sessions won’t be competing with each other.
Think about what time you want to wake up in the morning and work backward.
Your little one waking too early can leave you pooped for the rest of the day.
Remember that they’re learning to tap into their circadian rhythms (the sleep-wake cycle)
And they’re developing certain hormones to help them do this.
Light and darkness have a huge connection to these rhythms.
So, where possible, try to get them used to this idea by having fun playtime during the day and sleeping at night.
8-month sleep regression: the final word
While sleep regressions can be exhausting and frustrating, they are a natural response that your baby is having to all the newness in their world.
Look after yourself as you support them through this.
And if you’re concerned at all, check in with your doctor.
Need support along the way?
Remember your Peanut community is here for you.