Here's How Much Sleep Your Kids Should Be Getting

Your child's sleep needs change as they get older. Check out our age-by-age sleep guide for the latest recommendations, plus expert tips for better sleep.

Sleep can be a challenge when you're a parent—and not just getting enough of it. With busy schedules, work, school, and a baby who is constantly growing and changing, 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.

Baby and Child Sleep Chart by Age

Developmental Stage Age Daytime Sleep Nighttime Sleep  Total Sleep
Newborn 0 to 4 Months 7–9 hours
(3–5 naps)
8–9 hours 16–18 hours
Infant 4 to 12 Months  4–5 hours
(2–3 naps)
9–10 hours 12–16 hours
Toddler 1 to 2 Years  2–3 hours
(2 naps)
11 hours 11–14 hours
Preschool 3 to 5 Years  0–1 hours 10–13 hours 10–13 hours
School-Age 6 to 12 Years N/A 10–11 hours 9–12 hours

Newborn to 2 Months

We're going to be honest with you here: The newborn sleep stage is a strange time because there is no rhyme or reason to sleep patterns. Your baby will be sleeping a lot—around 14-17 hours every 24 hours—but unfortunately, those hours will not be consecutive and they may not occur at night either.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) doesn't even track newborn sleep because their brains are still developing, which means that there really isn't an established pattern of sleep in newborns, and they're all different.

This can be both good and bad news because it is entirely possible your baby will sleep decently and if not, you don't have to stress. There is still lots of time to establish good sleep habits as your baby's brain develops and they are able to sleep better.

How much sleep to expect

Newborns typically sleep in 2- to 4-hour intervals, waking up to eat. You should always feed your newborn in regular intervals, even through the night, because the newborn stage is a crucial one for growth and development and every feeding matters. If your baby is not waking up to eat, talk to your pediatrician to see if waking them up to eat is necessary.

Tips for better sleep

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 babies to help them doze off.

2 to 4 Months

Ages 2 to 4 months is considered a transition time as it's somewhere in between newborn sleep and older infant sleep. Chances are, your baby will still be sleeping in unpredictable ways, but as they approach the 4-month mark, their brains develop enough to start settling into recognizable sleep patterns. Remember, the AASM doesn't track infant sleep until they reach 4 months old, so up until that time, baby sleep can be very unpredictable.

How much sleep to expect

Babies this age may sleep for six-hour stretches at night, and start to settle into more of a set daytime nap schedule.

Tips for better sleep

To get your 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 at night.

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 to 6 Months

The 4-month mark is the kick-off the point when doctors do start to expect that baby sleep will take on a more regular and predictable pattern. Starting around 4 months (and remember, this is not an exact science, so your baby may need a little more time!), babies will require anywhere from 12 to 16 hours of sleep per 24 hours.

How much sleep to expect

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.

Tips for better sleep

Give your baby time to learn sleep; sometimes, it really does take time for your baby to develop positive sleep habits. And over time, baby sleep tends to improve (though the progress isn't always linear). Research shows about 60% of babies sleep through the night by 6 months, and up to 80% do so by 9 months.

Remember, all babies wake during the night, but those who "sleep through" have learned how to nod off on their own. Sleep training can be started at this age, but it may take time or trying different methods for it to work effectively. Don't get discouraged and remember, all babies are different.

6 to 12 Months

Babies that had previously been sleeping well may have temporary stages of interrupted sleep called sleep regressions. These happen as your baby goes through periods of intense growth and development and are actually a good sign as it means your baby's brain is developing. However, they can be challenging to navigate. The best thing to do is to stay consistent with bedtime routines.

How much sleep to expect

The AASM recommends 12 to 16 hours of sleep per 24 hours for babies at this age. That will consist both of night time sleep and daytime naps.

Tips for better sleep

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 to soothe them. Try rubbing your baby's back, singing a soothing lullaby, and ducking out after a few minutes.

Some babies may also 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 wake up. Keep in mind that at this stage, babies are capable of sleeping through the night and do not need overnight feedings, so they can be taught to sleep at night.

1 to 2 Years

Ah, the toddler years. One of two things can happen at this stage: Your baby gets so active that they actually sleep better because they are so physically tired or they are way too wound up and prefer trying out their new skills rather than sleeping.

Getting through this stage means sticking to the same healthy sleep habits you've used in the past: don't let toddlers—even the ones who swear they aren't tired—skip naps or stay up later, and provide plenty of screen-free downtime.

How much sleep to expect

The AASM recommends 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours for children from 1 to 2 years old.

Tips for better sleep

Active toddlers who are trying on some newfound independence 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 your baby learns to climb out of the crib, it'll be time to transition to a big kid bed. With the new freedom, they may regularly get out of bed and even 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 to 5 Years

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.

How much sleep to expect

There can be some overlap and transition stages around the ages of 2 and 3 because some toddlers will start dropping naps earlier, while others will need naps longer. But the AASM recommends that kids aged 3 to 5 get 10 to 13 hours of sleep per 24 hours.

Tips for better sleep

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.

If your child is not sleeping through the night at this stage or is waking up frequently, be sure to speak to your child's pediatrician too, as there may be an underlying issue behind the sleep issues that can be solved.

5 to 12 Years

Homework, a jam-packed social schedule and computer and TV time tend to push back bedtime. But sleep during this stage is still crucial for helping your child's brain grow and develop, setting them up for later success and health in life, and their physical and mental health.

How much sleep to expect

The AASM recommends 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis for all children aged 6 to 12. Naps aren't usually necessary at this stage.

Tips for better sleep

Cutting back on soda or other caffeine-packed drinks, as well as reducing TV-watching and screen use 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.

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