Here's How Much Sleep Your Baby and Kids Should Be Getting

How much sleep does your baby need? When will your child sleep through the night? How many naps are normal now? Check out our age-by-age sleep guide.

Sleep can be a challenge when you're a parent—and not just getting enough of it. With busy schedules, work, school, and sports, it can also be a challenge to know how much sleep your child should be getting as well.

The following are ballpark estimates for how much your baby or child should be sleeping, but remember that all kids are different, and some may need a little more or less than others.

Newborn-4 Months Sleep Needs

  • Total Sleep: 16-18 hours
  • Nighttime Sleep: 8-9 hours
  • Naps: 7-9 hours (3-5 naps)

4-12 Months Sleep Needs

  • Total Sleep: 12-16 hours
  • Nighttime Sleep: 9-10 hours
  • Naps: 4-5 hours (2-3 naps)

1-2 Year-Olds Sleep Needs

  • Naps: 2-3 hours (2 naps)
  • Nighttime Sleep: 11 hours
  • Total Sleep: 11-14 hours

3-5 Year-Old Sleep Needs

  • Total Sleep: 10-13 hours
  • Nighttime Sleep: 10-13 hours
  • Naps: 0-1 hours (naps usually end by age 5)

6-12 Year-Old Sleep Needs

  • Total Sleep: 9-12 hours
  • Nighttime Sleep: 10-11 hours
  • Naps: n/a

Newborn-2 Month Sleep Tips

  • Newborns sleep in 2- to 4-hour intervals, waking up to eat.
  • Babies this age tend to stir and look restless during sleep. Because of reflexes they can't control, it's common to see them twitch their arms and legs, smile and make sucking noises.
  • Newborns aren't born knowing how to soothe themselves to sleep, so you may need to help, with tricks like using a pacifier, swaddling, rocking and breastfeeding. Remember, there's no such thing as spoiling a newborn, so it's OK to cuddle baby to help them doze off.

2-4 Month Sleep Tips

  • Babies this age may sleep for six-hour stretches at night, and settle into more of a set nap schedule now.
  • To get baby on a good sleep routine, make sure to play and expose them to lots of sunlight during the day and avoid over-stimulating them when it's dark out.
  • Starting a pre-bedtime sleep routine—like a bath, feeding, and story time—can help ready your baby to sleep through the night for longer stretches.

4-6 Month Sleep Tips

  • Babies this age will start to quit nighttime feedings, and are usually ready to sleep through the night now, anywhere from six- to 12-hour stretches.
  • Research shows about 60% of babies sleep through by 6 months, up to 80% do so by 9 months.
  • Remember, all babies wake up sometimes during the night, but those who "sleep through" have learned how to nod off on their own.

6-12 Month Sleep Tips

  • Some babies stop sleeping through the night now because of separation anxiety. Your baby knows you're around even when they can't see you, and may get upset when they wakes up.
  • It's OK to go in and check on your crying baby, but if you're sleep training, aim to keep visits short and try (as hard as it is) not to pick them up or feed them. Try rubbing your baby's back, singing a soothing lullaby and ducking out after a few minutes.

1-2 Year Sleep Tips

  • Active toddlers can have trouble relaxing and winding down at night—causing bedtime battles. Try to keep things as calm as possible in the evenings, sticking to soothing activities like bath and story time.
  • Once baby learns to climb out of the crib, they may attempt to snuggle in bed with you. This is a hard-to-break habit, so if you don't want to start a co-sleeping situation, bring them back to their own room.

2-5 Year Sleep Tips

  • Toddler and preschooler sleep problems include procrastinating and resisting bedtime, getting out of their big-kid beds when they wake at night, and developing night fears.
  • Stick to a bedtime routine and sleep schedule, make sure your kids understand the rules and be consistent about enforcing them.
  • Using a nightlight or lovey can comfort kids who tend to get scared of the dark or have nightmares.

5-12 Year Sleep Tips

  • Homework, a jam-packed social schedule and computer and TV time tend to push back bedtime.
  • Cutting back on soda or other caffeine-packed drinks, as well as reducing TV-watching right before bed can help.
  • Children with sleep-friendly bedrooms—dark, cool and quiet, with no TV or computer—tend to sleep better than those with lots of distractions.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University; National Sleep Foundation, Baby 411 and Toddler 411 by Denise Fields and Ari Brown, MD

Copyright © 2008 Meredith Corporation.

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