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For almost every new mom, there is some obsession with their baby’s sleep, all the time thinking (fingers crossed!) that the amount is going to increase a bit further every week.

Clearly, your infant is going to sleep through a full night one day, but newborns’ and babies’ sleep tends to fall into a specific range and varies depending on their age.

And although it’s tempting to match your baby with your friends’, you should understand that your baby’s sleeping pattern is completely original, exactly like his or her charming nose.But if you’re still wondering more about how long babies need to sleep and if your baby is on schedule, continue reading to discover more about the number of hours a day your baby is supposed to sleep and how you can determine if your baby is getting too much sleep.

How many hours of sleep do infants need?

Much in the same way as grown-ups, babies have different lengths of sleep. However, the baby’s overall mood and comfort are usually great clues as to how much sleep he or she is receiving.Well, with babies:

  • awake and fussy, they likely are needing extra rest;
  • awake and satisfied, they are likely having plenty of sleep.

Keep in mind that your baby is one of a kind. Your baby may be able to cope by getting either more or less sleep compared to some infants his or her age.

  • 1-4 weeks of age: 15 – 16 hours a day.

Newborns usually sleep approximately 15 – 18 hours a day, although only for brief periods lasting two to four hours. Preterm babies are likely to sleep for longer periods of time, whereas full-term newborns usually tend to sleep less.
As newborns still lack an internal biological clock or a circadian rhythm, their bedtime schedules aren’t bound to the daytime and nighttime phases. Indeed, more often don’t have any sleep timing at all.

  • 1-4 months of age: 14 – 15 hours a day.

At 6 weeks old, your baby is starting to calm down a little, and you will find that more consistent bedtime habits are occurring. The most extended sleeping cycles are between four and six hours, and they now begin to happen with greater frequency at night. The circadian day-night tangle comes to an end.

  • 4-12 months of age: 14 – 15 hours a day.

Whereas up to 15 hours is considered optimal, most babies only receive approximately 12 hours of sleep by 11 months of age. Getting healthy sleep patterns in place becomes a top objective in this period, given that your baby is far more sociable now and his or her sleep habits more closely resemble those of a grown-up.

  • The majority of babies have naps throughout the day.
  • Naps typically take 1-2 hours. However, sometimes babies sleep more than that. In fact, up to a quarter of all babies this age take naps lasting less than one hour.

So here’s just what you can count on for the night:

  • The majority of babies are ready for sleep by 6-10 p.m.
  • The majority of babies take under 30 minutes to fall asleep.
  • A great number of babies do wake up overnight and might actually need a grown-up to bring them to sleep again. Approximately 1 in 10 babies will do this 3-4 times per night.
  • More than 1/3 of all parents report experiencing difficulty getting their baby to sleep during this age range.
sleeping-baby

How many hours does a baby sleep?

  • 1-3 years of age: 12 – 14 hours per day.

Once your child is beyond his or her first year and 18-21 months of age, he or she will probably stop getting his or her morning and evening naps and will only nap one time a day. In fact, whereas toddlers may need about 14 hours of sleep a day, they normally receive only around 10.

Most kids between approximately 21 and 36 months of age continue to get one nap a day, lasting one to three-and-a-half hours. And they typically will go to sleep from 7 to 9 p.m. and will wake up around 6 to 8 a.m.

  • 3-6 years of age: 10 – 12 hours per day.

Kids of this age generally are going to sleep from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and starting to be awake from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., exactly the way they did when they were little. At age 3, the majority of children are taking naps, whereas, at age 5, they no longer do. The naps also begin to get shorter. After the age of 3, normally no new sleeping issues appear.

Two other factors that can affect the number of sleep infants and babies receive are:

  • Preterm birth. When your baby is born preterm, his or her sleep time is different compared to that of a full-term baby. Early-born babies may sleep up to 22 hours a day, based on their prematurity, as well as more frequent awakenings to feed. However, in terms of stringing together extended segments of sleep (six hours or more), a preterm baby won’t do so as fast. In fact, it could be as late as 10 or 12 months of age before they achieve this trick.
  • Feeding method. Formula-fed infants wake more rarely at night and sleep for longer than their breastfed counterparts because digestion of the formula consumes a longer time. However, even formula feeding isn’t a miracle sleep cure-all, since both feeding approaches lead to the same overall sleeping duration. And once your baby is 9 months of age, there is usually no noticeable distinction between the two approaches.

The first three months aren’t the time to start a bedtime routine for your baby. As your baby must be breastfed or bottle-fed once every few hours throughout the newborn period, implementing a consistent predictable routine should wait until your baby is around 3 to 6 months of age.

And keep in mind that safe sleep is crucial in the first year of life. So make sure you place your baby on his or her back (never on his or her stomach) when napping and getting in bed. Also, your baby consistently needs to sleep on a hard pad that is clear of soft toys, covers, cushions, and bumpers.

With increasing upper body strength, you may find your baby switching sleep positions and tossing and turning as soon as 4 months of age (and by 6 or 7 months, he or she will be pushing into a sitting position, though the time for all of these milestones may be variable). Try not to be concerned – no need to place her on her back at this time, nevertheless, she will have to start each time she goes to sleep.

Baby sleep patterns by age

Sleeping hours for babies

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers up some helpful suggestions on how much sleep children should get at various phases of their growth and development. Always consider that these rates represent the overall hours of sleep in a 24-hour time frame. Therefore, this means in case your son or daughter continues to nap, you must keep this in mind when totaling his or her sleep hours that are typical.

The demand for sleep for babies differs based on how old they are. Neonates spend a significant amount of time napping. However, their sleep occurs in very brief periods. As a baby grows, the total amount of sleep slowly decreases. However, the duration of sleep during the night goes up.

Usually, newborns spend approximately 8 to 9 hours asleep in the daytime and approximately 8 hours during the night. Although, they often do not sleep longer than 1 to 2 hours in a row. The majority of babies will not sleep throughout the night (6 to 8 hours) unless they reach approximately 3 months old, or unless they reach 12 to 13 pounds. Roughly over two-thirds of babies are capable of consistently sleeping all the way through at 6 months old.

Babies also may have distinct sleep patterns from grown-ups. Babies actually spend significantly less time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep or dream mode. And their cycles are briefer. The table shows the normal nightly and daily sleep durations for newborns up to age 2:

 

Age

Total sleep hours Total hours of nighttime sleep Total hours of daytime sleep

Newborn

16 hours 8 to 9

8

1 month

15.5 hours 8 to 9

7

3 months

15 hours 9 to 10

4 to 5

6 months

14 hours 10

4

9 months

14 hours 11 3
1 year 14 hours 11

3

1.5 years

13.5 hours 11 2.5
2 years 13 hours 11

2

Baby sleep patterns by age

Babies’ sleep behavior differs from child to child and will continue to vary with time. Thus, there is no single table or guide that will determine the timing and manner in which your baby is going to sleep.However, scientific research may be helpful in understanding the degree of variation and overall tendencies.

A timeline of the evolution of babies’ sleep behaviors

Birth-3 months. Neonates usually nap during brief intervals spread out throughout the entire day. Over a period of days, there is a progressive trend for them to begin napping longer throughout the night.

Overall sleep duration is variable; approximately one-half of all babies receive from 13 to 16 hours of sleep in each 24-hour day.

On the whole, their sleep patterns are easy and unsettled. In contrast to the older kids and grown-ups, infants generally go into REM (rapid eye movement) mode right when they fall asleep, spending way longer periods of time in REM mode compared to the rest of us.
Moving much of the time, in fact, sometimes they actually emit noises.

Age 4-6 months. By this age, your baby’s circadian rhythm has become completely established, but it is still not mature. Nighttime sleep is typically 10.5-12 hours (which may include 1-2 nighttime feedings). Daytime nap is typically 3-4 hours, split between 3-4 naps. A morning nap is normally the easiest to anticipate and will most likely occur 1.5-2 hours following your baby’s morning wake-up time. All other naps throughout the day are somewhat less predictable regarding time and length since a steady daytime nap schedule typically isn’t established before your baby is around 5.5 months of age.

Age 6-9 months. Starting at 9 months of age, nighttime meals are generally not needed, but by observing your baby’s cues, you’ll be able to identify what is needed for your young one. Promote lots of feedings throughout the day to gradually help wean your baby off of night feedings. If you feed your baby plenty in the daytime and cut back on calories during the night, your baby’s biological hunger cue to awake at night will be decreased. Night sleep is usually 10.5-12 hours (which may include 1-2 night feedings).

The daytime nap gets more consistent with predictability and will likely be about this:

  • Morning sleep 2 hours after awakening.
  • 2.5-3 hours of wakefulness until the second nap.
  • Brief (15-30 minute) 3rd nap in the late afternoon or early evening to decrease sleep stress and avoid fatigue.

 

Age 9-12 months. At this age, your baby can likely withstand prolonged periods of awake time and is falling into a steady routine of 2 naps a day. Night sleep is generally 10.5-12 hours. (Night feedings are no longer biologically needed for nearly every baby by this age, though there are those families who opt to include a night feeding, and some babies may still have a need to nurse or “daydream.” If it works in your family, there is no harm in allowing the baby to go with his or her instincts).

The daytime nap usually includes 2 naps for about 3 hours altogether, with a timetable that goes somewhat as follows:

  • Anticipated first nap 2-2.5 hours after awakening.
  • The second nap starts approximately 3-3.5 hours after awakening from the first nap
  • At this point, your baby is supposed to stay awake for a minimum of 4 hours until bedtime (although you may have, and you may need to set the time for bed a little earlier, as you have eliminated the third nap from the schedule in the late afternoon.)
How to get the baby to sleep through the night

How often should newborns sleep

The majority of newborns spend about 8 to 9 hours sleeping during the day and 8 hours at night. Most of them also wake up at least every 3 hours to drink.However, this amount of time varies greatly, and some newborns sleep as little as 11 hours, while others may sleep up to 19 hours per day. Newborns may sleep more or less than normal if they are uncomfortable or their usual routine is interrupted.
The majority of babies sleep in spurts, lasting between 30-45 minutes and 3-4 hours. In the first few weeks, it is common for a newborn to wake up for a feeding and then immediately go back to sleep.Once a newborn becomes an infant, they begin to establish a schedule. Eventually, they begin to sleep during the night, although they may wake several times to drink. Most babies don’t develop a set sleep schedule until they are about 6 months old. And even then, there are significant differences between babies.

When can I let my baby sleep through the night

When can I let my baby sleep through the night?

Sleep through the night: what it really means

Sleeping throughout the night is typically the definition of six to eight hours of sleep during the night.

However, keep in mind this is just a small portion of the overall 10 to 12 hours (or longer) sleep that babies typically require during the night, based on their age and level of maturity, in addition to daytime snoozes. Meaning that even if your baby “sleeps through the night” between 3 and 6 months of age, it will probably stay that way for some time (for instance, putting your baby to bed at 7:30 p.m. would be 1:30 a.m. six hours later and 3:30 a.m. eight hours later).

Babies under 6 months can typically sleep from three to eight hours during the night, based on their age and development. And babies from 4 to 6 months of age are capable enough to sleep throughout the night with no feeding, but whether they do so is a different story. Babies, just like grownups, are eating for convenience and enjoyment, rather than simply to get food.

Conclusion

Babies really need sleep to develop and grow. However, sleep typically isn’t compressed into extended periods of nighttime sleep until babies reach 3 to 6 months old. But if you’re concerned that your baby may not.

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Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams

Hi! I'm Vanessa! I keep this blog about babies' products.

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