How Much Sleep Do Babies and Toddlers Really Need?

How Much Sleep Do Babies and Toddlers Really Need?

As a parent, one of the most important aspects of your child's development is ensuring they get enough sleep. But how much sleep do babies and toddlers really need? Sleep requirements change as they grow, and understanding these changes can help you establish healthy sleep routines. In this article, we'll explore age-appropriate sleep guidelines for newborns, infants, and toddlers from 0 to 5 years old, including nap times.

NOTE: This is averages only, some babies will sleep more, some less. They are all different!

Newborns (0-3 Months Old):

During the first three months of life, your newborn will spend the majority of their time sleeping. On average, they need 14-17 hours of sleep per day. Newborns don't yet have a clear distinction between day and night, so expect them to sleep in short, frequent periods. . These sleep periods are typically broken into short cycles lasting 2 to 4 hours.

Nap times: Newborns take several short naps throughout the day, typically lasting 30 minutes to 2 hours, totaling about 4 to 6 hours.

Infants (3-6 Months Old):

As your baby enters the 3-6 month stage, their sleep patterns start to become more predictable. Babies this age generally need around 14-16 hours of sleep per day, with nighttime sleep becoming more consolidated.

Nap times: Daytime naps tend to consolidate. Expect 3-4 naps a day, each lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Infants (6-9 Months Old):

Babies aged 6-9 months need approximately 12-15 hours of sleep a day. Most babies in this age group can sleep through the night with one or two feedings.

Nap times: Your baby will usually take 2-3 naps a day, ranging from 1-2 hours each.

Infants (9-12 Months Old):

As your baby approaches their first birthday, they typically require around 12-14 hours of sleep a day, including nighttime sleep.

Nap times: 2 naps a day, usually about 1-2 hours each.

Toddlers (1-2 Years Old):

As your baby transitions into toddlerhood, their sleep requirements gradually decrease. Toddlers aged 1-2 years need about 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day, with most of it occurring during nighttime.

Nap times: Most toddlers begin transitioning to a single daytime nap during this period. Expect one nap a day, ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours.

Toddlers-Preschooler (3-5 Years Old):

As your child enters the toddler and preschooler stage, aged 3-5 years, they require 10-13 hours of sleep per day. Nighttime sleep becomes more prominent.

Nap times: Many children in this age group no longer take daytime naps, although some may still benefit from a short nap. If needed, a short nap of about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Remember that these guidelines are general recommendations, and individual variations exist. Pay attention to your child's cues and adapt their sleep schedule accordingly. A consistent sleep routine and a comfortable sleep environment can help ensure your preschooler gets the rest they need for optimal growth and development.


Tips for Healthy Sleep Habits

  1. Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine: Establishing a calming routine before bedtime can signal to your child that it's time to sleep. Activities like reading a book or taking a warm bath can be part of this routine.
  2. Ensure a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Make sure your child's sleep environment is conducive to rest. This includes a comfortable mattress, appropriate room temperature, and minimal noise and light.
  3. Monitor Screen Time: Limit your child's exposure to screens, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with their ability to fall asleep.
  4. Encourage Daylight Exposure: Exposure to natural daylight during the day helps regulate the body's internal clock. Encourage outdoor play and activities to ensure your child gets enough sunlight.
  5. Be Patient and Consistent: It's normal for children to have occasional sleep disruptions. Stay patient and consistent with your routines, and remember that sleep patterns can evolve as your child grows.


In conclusion, understanding the changing sleep needs of your baby or toddler as they grow is crucial for their well-being. By following age-appropriate sleep guidelines and nap times, you can help your child establish healthy sleep patterns that will benefit them throughout their early years. 

If you're ever in doubt about your child's sleep needs, don't hesitate to consult with a pediatrician or sleep specialist. A well-rested child is a happy and healthy child, and with the right guidance, you can ensure your little one gets the sleep they need for a bright future. For preschoolers aged 3-5, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is key to their development and overall well-being.

Sweet dreams!

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