Sleep Regressions, Sleep Training FAQs

Scientific Evidence: Are Sleep Regressions Real?

By Sleep Training Kids

A commonly-asked question about sleep regressions is this:  Are they a real thing, or are they a made-up thing?

Let's take a deeper dive into what the evidence and history have to say about the reality of sleep disturbances and the evolving term of sleep regressions.

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While sleep regression is not a diagnosable condition or a real medical term, it incorporates aspects of sleep disturbances and behavioral regression conditions.

Sleep Regressions at a Glance

No conclusive, universally accepted evidence proves whether or not all sleep regressions are real.

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However, some studies correlate developmental transitions and sleep disturbances.

Over the last handful of decades, researchers have begun to realize that there are normal periods of disruption and disorganization in development.

The Real History of Sleep Regression Studies

Researchers refer to these periods of disturbed sleep as sleep disturbances, not sleep regressions.

it’s very common for children to experience noticeable sleep disturbances at these times:

– During or after a vacation – When there’s been a time change  – After a large life change, like parents separating or divorcing

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So while sleep regression isn’t a diagnosable condition, sleep disturbances are being shown to be a reality, time and time again throughout published, peer-reviewed scientific studies.

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There just isn’t a specific, conclusively proven timeline that shows when every sleep regression will happen.

And scientists refer to them as  sleep disturbances, not regressions.

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Studies rely heavily on self-reports or surveys

Every child develops at their own pace

Children’s development is affected by countless factors

Reasons why a specific sleep regression timeline won’t happen soon include:

Studies rely on large quantities of reliable data

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Sleep deprivation affects memory

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