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Dad here, please help! 18 month old suddenly not sleeping

Hi there, a dad here (not sure how common this is).

I'm after some help for me and my partner.

We have an 18 month old son and his sleeping behaviour is killing us.

He will go to be about 7:30/8 and fall straight asleep. No problems at all. But about 2/3 weeks ago he has started waking pretty much every single hour of the night. 

There is no build up crying, no moaning just straight to hysterics! 

He will instantly scream, sit up and then bang his head on his cot. We try to leave him but he just doesn't stop and it gets to the point where it sounds like we are hurting him.

When we go in he'll instantly stop and close his eyes but then every two minutes he'll open his eyes to check we are still there. When he's finally asleep after sometimes an hour we'll sneak out and guaranteed he'll scream again within 30/60 minutes.

This is killing us, We are struggling throughout the day.

His midday naps have even dropped from 2 hours to about 30/45 minutes.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, struggling dad.


  • Hmmm could very well be night terrors or he's might have separation anxiety.

    A few things you can try...
    A nightlight to help soothe.
    White noise to help settle into a deeper sleep.
    A product called Lush Sleepy Lotion - read about this, not tried it. 
    A banana before bed (Google it - read about this too!)
    You could also try bringing his bed time forward to 7pm- he might be overtired and not settling into proper deep sleep. 

    Obviously don't try all these things at once, and it is likely a phase and it will pass, but i know it must be a nightmare while you are living it.  


  • Thanks for the reply Mrsg14.

    Separation anxiety sounds plausible, he started nursery for the first time just over a month ago and come to think of it this started soon after.

    The only thing is at nursery he puts himself to sleep and sleeps for a solid 2 hours, even with the distraction of other children around.

    I'll definitely try out your suggestions, anything for 1 nights decent sleep. 

  • Ahhh this makes sense - it's a really big deal for toddlers starting nursery - what time is he dropped off and picked up? He's likely spent every moment with your and your partner and now all of a sudden, he's in a new environment, things have shifted, and it sounds like it is manifesting at night time. 

    Lots of reassurance at bed time, maybe leave bedroom door open at night and hall light on too, so he knows you're there. Good luck and let me know if things improve. 

  • Hi, he gets dropped off at 8am and picked up around 5:30pm. This is for 3 days a week.

    I know it sounds a lit but with work we have had no other choice. 

    We'd roughly get home about 6ish, give him a few snacks such as melon or cucumber and then it's bath anf bed by 7:30/8. 

    Now I'm typing it I can kind of see why he's going through a tough time. 

    He's gone from all day with either of us to no more than 2 hours a day 3 times a week. 

    He has a night light and a white noise Winnie the pooh bear but its not cutting it. 

  • Oh i'm not judging - i used to do the same hours (if not longer!) with my kids - we have to work! 

    Yeah, i think it's making sense - he's missing you is all. And remember it is a phase, it will pass. 

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