The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

21 Month Old Baby Wakes Up Continuously Since Birth


I've been looking for an answer since my daughter was born 21 months ago. She was never a good sleeper from the beginning, wakes up every 20 minutes screaming and crying and takes forever to calm her down and put her back to sleep till it happens all over again.

When she was younger it was easier but now as she is growing her sleeping problem is getting worse. She is becoming very violent in her sleep, she hits us a lot, she cries with tears and as soon as she opens her eyes its like nothing happened.

She tosses and turns all night long and wakes up at least 20-25 times every night. Now that she talks a little we are trying to understand whats wrong and I think its nightmares, she tries to explain and I'm getting that she is scared and upset but I can't know why ??

It seems like her brain is always working while shes sleeping, cause she easily wakes up, if you put a finger on her she's wide awake.

We tried all methods of sleeping from cuddling to crying it out, but all made it worse.

She is also scared of a lot of things during the day I think cause she is overtired and from all the dreams.

She is our first child and me and her dad are beyond sleep deprived, and most of all worried about her sleep habits affecting her health and growth. She only gets a continuous 4-5 hour sleep once a month or two and when she does she is such a happy baby otherwise she is always angry.

I took her to all kinds of Dr but physically nothing is wrong with her, unfortunately we do not have a pediatric sleep specialist in the country we live in.

Please help me help my baby, we are all so tired.

Comments for 21 Month Old Baby Wakes Up Continuously Since Birth

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 16, 2015
im in the same situation NEW
by: Anthea

Omg i googled my situation and yours came up. My baby is the exact same please tell me you have a email mine is if you could email me it woul be so good to have someone to talk to thay knows what sleep deprivation is! My baby constantly wakes since birth and i have been to so many drs but no one can help my husband and i.

May 13, 2015
I am having the same problem NEW
by: Anonymous

I am having the same problem! Would be great if you could email me on Maybe you have had some information you could share?

May 14, 2015
Sleep disorder in babies NEW
by: Samia

My 1st son Taha is never good at sleep from very first day.It was very difficult for me to remain up for him all night but then he will not even sleep at day time much. I never found a reason behind and still unable to find a solution for him.
My second son is very good at sleep. He is 2.5 yrs old and look like 3 yrs. He is chubby and active and will sleep in time. The only difference between the upbringing of two was that 1st one never had a bottle of milk as he was on mother feed for first 2 yrs but second one is taking only bottled milk. I have this feeling that may be mother feed was not enough to fill his tummy. I know its something that doctors will oppose but have seen many cases like that. Kids wake up at night because of hunger and mother feed mean more exertion and work for them. This leave them awake or remain hungry while taking milk from feeder make their work easy to fill the tummy and milk flow out easily. I am just sharing my experience and that of some people I know.
Try to solve the problem before it became a habit of you baby.
Regards, Mom who is still suffering

May 17, 2015
Sleep apnea?? NEW
by: Anonymous

Have you had a sleep study done? My son woke every 20 minutes as well, we thought it was reflux but no meds worked! At 14 months he had a sleep study done and found out he had obstructive sleep apnea!! So scary! He was stopping breathing 11x's/hour! ... They removed his tonsils and adenoids. He's doing better but still not a great sleeper! He also had tubes put in due to chronic ear infections at 1 year.

May 18, 2015
me too NEW
by: Anonymous

Please I am going through it too with my 16 month old. No sleep.. He wakes up every hour moaning and or crying. HELP
Email me please anyone. . I need support.

Jun 13, 2015
Sleep issue with 10 month old toddler NEW
by: B

Hi, I see no response on this thread. My son has been bad at sleeping since birth. Have seen 10 min. 20 min , 40 Min phases. Now I feel so tired. After first 3.5 months he started napping during day for 2-4 hrs. But in night he wakes up so many times. He keeps on tossing n turning a lot. From last month he isn't ready to sleep in his cot and wants one of us co sleep. Still he gets up ...give him bottle..then my own milk. Rock. But he seems so cranky n disoriented. At last he sleeps at breast and then sleeps again. I had issues with my own sleep during pregnancy. It seems like more than an year I haven't slept. And this cycle has made me insomniac. Can anyone please help ?

Jul 15, 2015
this is a big problem NEW
by: Anonymous

My sun is 20 months and I have the same problem he wakes up almost every half hour for 15 min. He is in a routine he goes to bed at 8 and I wake him up at 7 and take a nap from 11-12. He is very hyperactive and aggressive toward me my husband and daughter. The people said we should take him to the specialist to do tests for add or adhd but he is not one of those cause he listen an do tasks and understand. I hope I can get a solution! I want a little bit of sleep please. Medicine make him hyper the doctors tried to give him some and he exploded he couldn't stop shaking his cot and laugh that was one horrible night

Aug 04, 2015
The same thing! NEW
by: Anna

I have the same problem. My daughter is 25 months old and wakes 20 times a night. I am working full time and studying and so sleep deprived. She still breast feeds and won't go back to sleep unless I feed her. Does anyone have any answers?

Aug 15, 2016
Son never slept and so neither did I NEW
by: Anonymous

My oldest son almost never slept. He would stop breathing and turn blue at some point. Had to get his adenoids removed and that helped some. He has asthma and is allergic to any type of smoking, had to keep him away from that which included some family members. He was allergic to the trees and grass. That was a bad one. He was extremely hyperactive and if you put him down for a nap expect not to sleep during the night. He had ear infections as well. Had tubes in his ears twice. Getting him to sleep was near impossible. Sometimes the only thing I could get him to sleep was a cartoon with soft music. Only way to get him still. He would then only sleep for a few hours. I breast fed in the beginning but it wasn't enough and had to start him on cerel early. Had to switch from breast milk to formula and then all types of issues with formula and ended up with just cow milk. That stopped a lot of the colic. Eating food early also helped. I could not take a shower because he would not nap. Had to take him to the shower with me and cleaned him while I quickly washed myself. I never got any sleep. He was always moving and learned quickly. He got a little better as he aged. About 6 hours a night tops even by age 6 years. He is grown now and never was a sleeper. He was finally diagnosed with narcolepsy as one of his issues. i can't imagine why since he never slept. Poor thing. My second son required over 8 hours of sleep a night and at least 2 naps a day since birth. If he did not sleep he was cranky. However I did learn as his problems began from the beginning that his adenoids had to be removed due to enlargment, ear tubes as well. Horrible colic had to switch to cow's milk and cerel early on. He did better since I caught the issue earlier than the first child. He is now in the air force and does great. Oldest son is 27 and still has sleep disorders. Very sad for him to have to deal with. Both are very loving boys.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Experiences With Sleep Disorders In Children.

Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.