As you lay in bed, tossing, turning, and trying desperately to drift back off after yet another sleepless night of screams and wails, or stare lovingly down at your sleeping little as she takes her 3rd nap of the day, it’s easy to begin to wonder whether their seemingly wild sleep patterns could possibly be normal.
With such extreme variances in sleeping schedules and needs, it’s understandable that many well-meaning, but physically and mentally exhausted parents start to question just how much sleep their babies need to keep them happy, healthy, and safe.
While sleep certainly isn’t a one size fits all template, there are a few guidelines that you should be aware of to keep their growth and health on track.
The best indicator of how much sleep your children really need will always be your little ones themselves, so watch for warning signs, and if you feel that they aren’t getting enough, or sleeping too often, see a Doctor immediately. Always remember, the numbers we give here are estimates, and are certainly not medical advice. The members of the Little Lamb Lane Team are not medical professionals, and our writing should ever be substituted for professional healthcare advice.
This Is How Much Sleep Your Child Actually Needs Based on Age
Newborn – 3 Months – 16 to 18 Hours: When you first bring your brand new baby home from the hospital, you can expect them to spend a considerable amount of time sleeping, including fairly frequent naps during the day. As they are still getting used to the world around them, they can sleep up to a staggering 19 hours across the entire day.
4 – 11 Months – 12 to 15 Hours: As your little one grows out of their newborn phase, some of that sleep will be left behind, and they will be far more active with naps fewer and further between. At this phase, it’s not unusual to see those dreaded long nights filled with crying, even as their days still contain 2 to 3 naps.
12 – 24 Months – 11 to 14 Hours: Continuing the downward sleep trend, as they grow into a toddler, your little will need less sleep and that hectic schedule should settle out, leaving 1 to 2 naps during the day, with long full nights of sleep at last.
2 – 3 Years – 10 to 13 Hours: Moving on into the terrible twos and threes, as your children head into their toddler years, their schedule will finally reach fully consistent levels of bedtime bliss. By this age, they shouldn’t take more than 1 nap a day and should be sleeping completely through the night which boasts the new unfun side effect of wake up times earlier than even the most militant morning riser.
3 – 5 Years – 10 to 12 Hours: Through their preschool years, most children will settle comfortably into a fairly standard routine. During this time, they will still more than likely need to get in a daytime nap, though it may vary from child to child. You’ll want to be especially alert during this time period to make sure that your little is getting more than 8 hours total every day, and less than 14.
6+ Years – 9 to 10 Hours: As your child moves on into their standard schooling, the number of hours they need will fall to a fairly standard range, and they will eventually lose the naps in the middle of the day. You’ll still want to keep a careful eye on things, but a short night here or there, or a long morning sleeping in every now and then should be expected as their sleeping habits normalize and they grow into more and more of an adult.