What Could Cause My 22-Month-old to Wake Throughout the Night?

Updated on April 28, 2012
R.Y. asks from Memphis, TN
10 answers

I know, I know... "teething" will be No. 1 answer, and you may be right. but my son is a very good sleeper. Even when he does wake and cries, it's usually just for a minute and he'll get himself to sleep. but i wonder if there are other ideas out there. he's got all his teeth but his molars, so perhaps they are coming in, but Tylenol doesn't stop him from waking. Is it just that he's approaching 2 and this "just happens," or should I check for other things?

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answers from Chattanooga on

Ir could be any of many reasons. I would not be giving him pain meds to just make him sleep I was told by the dr that was bad for one's liver to take unneeded pain meds.Sounds like he's startling himself in his sleep which is no biggie.

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answers from Redding on

I say they wake up because they need to go pee.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Some ideas:

Is there any grabbing at his ears? red earlobes? Extra fussiness? Any fever at all? any diaper rash? (ear infection)
Check inside his mouth,... the roof of his mouth and gums with a flashlite, make sure there are no sores......

Was there a night that he woke..... and was fed ? These situations (especially any kind of food / milk) will cause the child to wake again at the same time the next night.

The hormones cortisol and serotonin regulate the sleep/ wake cycle. High grain diets /high corn syrup diets will eventually cause an increase in cortisol. So does stress. High cortisol spikes at night can cause wakefulness.

Any kind of underlying blood sugar issues, like hypoglycemia, can also cause night waking. What happens is the blood sugar in hypoglycemic individuals drops below where it should be.... usually around 2 or 3 am. The body goes into an alarm state (because the brain must have a certain level of glucose ) and will kick in adrenaline as the backup mechanism to bring blood sugar back up. (Adrenline is the same hormone that occurs when you almost get into a fight, ...the heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, the brain is put on 'alert' status, the signal is sent to deficate so that if there is an abdominal injury there will not be toxemia, etc...) Anyway, adrenaline wakes you up, and keeps you up. Unfortunately hypoglycemia is very common and usually not diagnosed in children, until much later in life.

My daughter had hypoglycemia since 3 and it wasnt diagnosed until she was 14. That is how 'quiet' it is.

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answers from Savannah on

Could be any of several things:
1) Yeah, he really should be getting his molars by now, and that is a doozy. You can't give him Tylenol preventatively and hope it lasts 10 hours until time to wake up; I would not suggest giving him medicine without knowing he actually needs it. My oldest son had the worst time cutting molars (diarrhea, little bumps on his face that looked like chicken pox, fever, crying, all of it). My youngest son would cry out in the night, and when I went to him he'd say "Owie my mouth" and when I put some baby orajel (or better, Little Remedies' Tiny Teethers), he would smile and go back to sleep quickly.
2) Does he have allergies or sinuses? If so, with spring here he may have sinus drainage to his ears, which would hurt. My oldest had NO allergies, but my youngest wasn't that lucky there and he just finished a little bout where he was fine when he was awake and up, but laying down, he'd get the drainage which hurt his ears.
3) He's also old enough to have little dreams. They don't have to be "serious", it could be something like falling, or that his food wasn't coming fast enough, anything. My husband and I used to watch our boys dreaming, wondering what they had in their little worlds to dream about (just the normal mundane day to day stuff, since we didn't watch a lot of TV and were careful with what they were around).
4) I remember my youngest waking up screaming in what I thought was terror, it was so "intense" and I jumped out of bed, ran through the house and it was just his stupid pacifier had fallen out, between the bed and the mattress and he couldn't pull it out and was freaking. Or a couple other times he'd be searching around under his blanket saying "Go my paci?", which was the beginning of the end of his pacifier. I didn't want to keep waking up every time it fell out of his mouth.
5) Gas?
6) This past Tuesday, my 2 year old woke from nap screaming and freaking out, and I went in and there was a little light spot on his wall that was scaring him. He'd slipped a little child safe mirror in bed with him (he talks to his reflection and sometimes sneaks it to bed when I'm gone), and the light from the window was reflecting off the mirror, onto his wall and when he moved, it moved too (he bumped the mirror). I sat on my knees and we played with the mirror, me first, then him, and made shadow puppets and all that, to show him it's just light and he can control it. That was a 20 minute ordeal, but sweet in a way. We said "Bye bye, light" and put the mirror upside down on his table, and he laid back down for the rest of nap time.
I guess this is to say it could be anything.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

itcy p.j.s?
too hot
too cold
tummy ache
night fears
routine off
change in weather
new sounds in the house
changes in life...


answers from Jacksonville on

It could be as simple as your baby being squirmy and moving around too much in the bed/crib. If they "scoot" too far and bump into the crib rail it wakes them a bit. Or they roll over and the vestibular change going from back to tummy or tummy to back makes them semi-awake for a few moments. Or gas bubbles, they pass it and go back to sleep. If he sleeps with a paci, maybe it fell out and he found it and put it back in. Or he moved and his "lovey" brushed against his face and it woke him.

It could be a million reasons. As long as he goes back to sleep in a moment or two, I wouldn't worry a bit.



answers from Chicago on

He may be hungry. do you give him a good filling snack before bed? We had to give our kids a big bowl of cereal or a pbj sandwich before bed so they were full and not waking with hunger pains. I would suggest if you do the cereal thing do oatmeal or cream of wheat type stuff not a big bowl of cereal floating in milk. the big bowl of milk will create other problems like wet diapers etc.



answers from Louisville on

if this has just started happening take him and have him checked for an ear infection.at night the gravitanional pull is stronger on the earth and causes ears to hurt more...even if its teethign the molars are very close to the ear tubes and could be causing pain. good luck!


answers from Los Angeles on

My guy just turned 3 and has always been a good sleeper but he used to wake up sometimes right before he wet his diaper before he was potty trained, then he'd lay back down, like a little alarm went off to tell him it was time to pee. But he didn't cry. He WILL cry a bit, though, and always has when he wakes up on nights when he was overtired going to bed.



answers from Kansas City on

My girls did this at that age too, and I always just thought it was because they were starting to dream. I don't know why I thought that, but I think that could be a possibility. I'm not sure when we start to dream, but if it is something they have not done or noticed before, it could cause them to wake up. It is just a phase and he should get back to being a very good sleeper again!

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