The 10-month sleep regression is a phenomenon which occurs when a person goes through the first year of life without any sleep whatsoever. The term “10 months” refers to the number of days between one’s last nap and their next scheduled nap. Some people go through this period with no sleep at all; others have only three or four hours of uninterrupted rest per day.
It is not uncommon for children to experience the 10-month sleep regression during their first year of life. The average age of onset is around 3 years, but it may occur earlier or later than that. Children usually start experiencing symptoms after they reach two years of age. It seems that most children do not recover from the 10-month sleep regression until they are five years old, though some adults have recovered from it much sooner.
There are many theories about what causes the 10-month sleep regression. One theory suggests that the brain needs time to adjust to new routines and environmental stimuli. Another theory says that the body needs time to heal itself after being deprived of sleep for such a long period of time. A third theory suggests that there is something wrong with your genes, or perhaps even with your DNA.
There are other possible explanations too, but none of them seem very likely right now!
There is no medical treatment for the 10-month sleep regression. It must run its course, and there is no way to speed up the process. One should avoid taking the child to the hospital, as it’s unlikely that they can help. Most doctors don’t even have any idea what’s going on with children who suffer from this condition.
During the 10-month sleep regression, children will begin to experience symptoms such as uncontrollable weeping, shaking, and an overall feeling of dread. They will often refuse food and water, and will generally wish to be close to their parents at all times, no matter what happens. It can be very difficult to get anything done during this period. It’s almost as if your child is concerned that you’ll abandon them if they let go of your hand for even a second!
In addition to the emotional trauma your child will experience during the 10-month sleep regression, they may also suffer from hallucinations and delusions. They may think that monsters are under their bed or in their closet, even if you as a parent can’t see them. It’s very important that you comfort your child during this time, even if what you’re saying isn’t true. The truth is no defense against a child’s delusions!
A combination of these factors makes the 10-month sleep regression especially difficult to deal with. Even though you have already gone through something similar once before, it is unlikely that you will be able to manage this period with the same techniques you used last time. Make sure to keep a cool head, and don’t raise your voice at your child if they are upset with you. It’s not their fault they’re going through this, after all.
As before, there is no way to predict when the regression will end. Some children recover after as few as four months, while others continue to suffer for a year or longer. Be strong and keep your chin up! This too shall pass.
Best of luck.
“Oh, my sweet, precious angel,” you say, giving Abigail a squeeze. “I promise you, this won’t last long. It’ll be over before you know it.”
You hold your daughter close and try to think positive thoughts. As promised, the 10-month sleep regression does end after about four months. Abigail soon returns to her normal self. She doesn’t remember anything that happened during the regression, but you make sure to keep a watchful eye on her over the next few months just in case.
You don’t want to risk another episode.
As it turns out, this was the last major hurdle before your child’s transition into adolescence. Over the course of the next year, you begin seeing changes in various aspects of her behavior.
First comes the attitude.
“I’m bored,” Abigail says, for the twentieth time this morning.
“Well, you could try reading a book,” you suggest. “I just bought you a whole stack of new ones from the used book store.”
“Those are boring, too. All I really want to do is go outside and play with Peter.”
“I thought you said he was a bully and not your friend anymore.”
“He is, but… I dunno. I just want to go outside and play.”
You sigh. The weather outside is miserable, and has been for the past few days. Rain pelts the roof of the house and lightning sets the sky ablaze every few minutes. You’ve been feeling restless yourself, but you figure that moving around in this weather would be even worse.
“I’m going to go see Aunt Karen,” Abigail suddenly declares.
,” you ask.
“I need to move around. I’m gonna go see her.”
“But, honey, it’s raining.”
I like the rain.”
“Abigail, you know what happens when you get too wet.”
“I won’t get wet! I’ll wear my raincoat! Look!”
To prove her point, she puts on her raincoat and rushes toward the door.
“Abigail, wait! At least let me come with you…”
“Nope, I’m going by myself! I’ll be back soon, I promise!” With those words, she opens the front door and rushes outside.
Sighing, you go after her, grabbing her just before she opens the gate.
“Abigail, you come back here this instant! You’re not going anywhere in this weather!” To emphasize your point, a nearby bolt of lightning strikes a tree in your front yard, scaring the both of you.
“Please, I don’t want you getting sick. If you want to go out in the rain so badly, we’ll go to the store and walk around there for a bit. Just promise me you won’t go see Karen.”
Abigail nods. “I promise.” The two of you exit the house and begin walking toward town. It’s a few miles from your house, but you manage not to get too wet since the downpour has lessened a bit.
Sources & references used in this article:
A 10-month physical activity intervention improves body composition in young black boys by CA Howe, RA Harris, B Gutin – Journal of obesity, 2011 – hindawi.com
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Global developmental delay in a 10-month-old infant boy by NJ Blum, LM Bird, MT Stein – Journal of Developmental & …, 2010 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Outcomes of infant sleep problems: a longitudinal study of sleep, behavior, and maternal well-being by P Lam, H Hiscock, M Wake – Pediatrics, 2003 – Am Acad Pediatrics
Predictors of slow‐wave sleep in a clinic‐based sample by B Mokhlesi, S Pannain, F Ghods… – Journal of sleep …, 2012 – Wiley Online Library
Frontolimbic neural circuitry at 6 months predicts individual differences in joint attention at 9 months by JT Elison, JJ Wolff, DC Heimer… – Developmental …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library