How Much Sleep Do Babies Really Need?

How Much Sleep Do Babies Really Need?

Let’s talk about baby sleep

We are asked every day! Most often, it is asked by the sleep-deprived caregivers of even more sleep-deprived babies and children.

Of course, every child is different, but there are some simple guidelines that we follow.


Newborn to 1 month – 15-20 hours of total sleep

Most newborns will be awake to feed (and, in fact, many drink while sleeping) and then they go right back to sleep.

Sleep cycles in babies usually range from 1-3 hours, with some waking in between sleep cycles to feed. Some babies will may sleep for shorter periods, and some for longer (if you’re lucky!).

A baby’s circadian rhythm is not yet mature, so there may not be much of a pattern to your newborn’s sleep. Therefore, most newborns will sleep equally in the day and night, and sometimes (much to their parents’ chagrin), even more during the day than at night.


1-4 months – 14-18 hours of total sleep

Regular sleep patterns begin to emerge at 6-8 weeks. Fewer babies have their days and nights mixed up by 3 months.

Some babies will sleep 4-6 hours at a time by this threshold, though most will not.

This is when many caregivers are starting to feel very tired and eager to train their babies to sleep longer stretches

4-12 months – 12-15 hours of total sleep

We think this is the best time to establish healthy sleep patterns.
Many babies have a baby sleep regression during this time, babies are tired and parents are exhausted!

When do babies sleep through the night? Many babies will require one feeding during the night till 7-10 months, and then can sleep 12 hours without requiring another feeding.

Ideally, babies should sleep 12 hours at night and 2-4 hours during the day
3 naps a day will drop to 2 naps a day around 6-9 months.

Typical nap times are at 9 am, 1 pm and 4 pm.

Babies drop to one nap between 15-20 months.

Typically at 9 am and 1 pm.


1-3 years – 12-14 hours a day of total sleep

By 18 months, most children are sleeping 11-13 hours a night and napping once in the afternoon.

Most toddlers go to bed between 7-8pm, and wake around 12 hours later, by 6-8 AM.

Many toddlers will drop their PM nap by age 3, though some children will still nap till age 5 or even longer.

Some children this age will have trouble staying asleep or in their beds, even if they were sleeping well on their own previously.


3-6 years – 10-12 hours a day of total sleep

Children this age should still be sleeping around 12 hours at night. Few are still having naps.

3-6 years of age is the peak age for nightmares and night terrors.


7-12 years – 10-11 hours a day of total sleep

These children tend to go to bed slightly later, from 8-9 pm, sleeping till 7-8 am.

12-18 years – 8-10 hours per day of total sleep

Many parents don’t realize that adolescence is a time of rapid growth and development, and many teens need more sleep than earlier ages.

May adolescents get too little sleep.

Many parents will assume their teen suffers from excessive sleeping, though this may be normal and part of typical adolescence.


In summary,

Our children, (and parents, as a result) frequently get too few hours of sleep, and are consequently more emotionally labile, stressed and do not function at their highest level. We should all be striving for more sleep!

Are you hoping to establish healthy sleep for the whole family? Join our community, check out our membership!

Dr. Dina Kulik, Parent Playbook

Author, Dr. Dina Kulik

Author, Dr. Dina Kulik

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