Updated: Sep 14
Are you wondering if your child is in a sleep regression? One reason why sleep regressions happen is due to the natural drop in sleep needs. Your baby at 9 months will not be sleeping the same at 13 months and so on. Understanding baby sleep needs will help you plan ahead and come to know what to expect which is reassuring in the crazy world of parenting!
Read along to find out just how many hours of sleep your child needs in 24 hours.
Sleep needs for newborns is one particular age with a big swing in what you’ll see from baby to baby. You can attest to this by talking to friends or family, or compare your own two newborns, whether that’s twins or two singletons.
Average total sleep for newborns is 16-18 hours.
At 4 months old, baby’s sleep starts to become a little more predictable. Meaning, you can witness some dedicated wake time your baby has before needing to return to sleep again. Average sleep needs at 4 months old is 15.5 hours.
At 5 months old, your baby is likely transitioning to 3 naps per day. Two longer naps paired with a cat nap. Total average sleep needs at 5 months old is 15 hours in 24 hours.
Most 6 monthers are taking 3 naps per day. Some will transition to two naps early, but those babies aren’t the norm. They may have been sleeping through the night for awhile now and no longer need three daytime naps anymore. Total average daytime sleep for a 6 month old is around 14.5 total hours.
This age is prime time for 3-2 nap transition. If your baby is is 8 months old and hanging onto three naps, it is likely time to transition to two. Either the daytime sleep isn’t restorative, meaning naps are short, or overnight sleep is now on the low end. If baby isn’t sleeping through the night, sleep training can help consolidate their sleep; allowing it to be restorative enough for baby to tackle longer wake windows. Total sleep needs for a 7-8 month old is 14-14.5 hours in a day.
Your baby is settled on two naps at this age. Total sleep may range from 2-3 hours depending of quality and duration of night sleep. Total sleep in 24 hours for a 9 month old is on average 14 hours.
Not much change going on here except naps may be getting shorter and more spread out. Bedtime will also get later until the 2-1 nap transition. Total sleep doesn’t change much either from previous months and totals are around 14 hours at 10-11 months old.
This age is complicated for many families. You baby may be showing signs of dropping a nap, yet they are on the younger side of being ready to transition. Be sure to completely max out wake windows to hold onto those two naps longer. Something like 3/3/4 with only 45 minutes to 1 hour each for nap time. Bedtime may also be as late as 8-9PM depending on your desired wake time. Sleep needs will somewhat depend on if baby has dropped the afternoon nap. If they are still on two naps, total sleep might be on the lower end. If newly on one nap per day, sleep may be higher. Average sleep needs is around 13.5-13.75 at 12-14 months old.
15 months is the average age to go through the 2-1 nap transition. Waiting until this age will be beneficial all around because wake windows jump into the 5-hour range. Older babies will tolerate those easier. Sleep needs at 15-18 months old really doesn’t change to much. Average needs will look like 13-13.5 hours.
At this age, baby is on a solid 1-nap schedule. You can expect a long lunchtime nap for 2-3 hours. Total sleep needs for an almost 2 year old does drop significantly. Sleep averages are around 12-12.5 hours for both daytime and nighttime sleep combined.
2 years old
Two year olds need a daytime nap, but at this age, you may notice it interfering with bedtime or causing early starts to their day. Be sure the nap is starting around 1PM and lasting only 90 minutes to 2-hours. Two years old is a great age to instill tons of crib autonomy. Crib autonomy is the skill of your child being happy and content in the crib. Sleep onsets may range from 30-45 minutes, sometimes longer at night. You all NEED that down time at the end of the day and for naps. Two year old very much still need to nap and their daily sleep totals are 12-12.5 hours.
If your baby is struggling to meet these totals or struggles with sleep in general. Don't hesitate to see if we have a solution for your. Our Baby Sleep Plan Packages will walk you through better sleep for your baby which include two-weeks of support from a certified pediatric sleep consultant.
Preschooler Sleep Needs
3 years old
Three year olds will sometimes start the 1-0 nap transition. Their nap may be interfering with your expected bedtime and it’s starting to cause problems. Pair that with the transition out of the crib, and your easy bedtimes may be out the window. Finding a balance of keeping the nap several times a week is key here. Dropping it cold turkey is not ideal. Average sleep needs for a three year old is 11-12 hours total.
4 years old
You four year old has likely enrolled in some sort of preschool program. Some states will require a rest time if your child attends a full day. Having your 4 year old take a nap or to even have too much rest time, can interfere with their overnight sleep. If your child no longer needs a nap, which most four year olds do not, ask their teacher what solutions you can both come up with to keep your child awake during rest time. Often times, there are other parents who feel the same. Suggestions like a quiet activity or acting as a teacher’s helper can be a good solution. Total sleep needs at 4 years old hasn’t changed from the previous year and lands at about 11-12 hours total.
If your toddler or preschooler is struggling to meet these totals or bedtime is a fight every night, don't hesitate to see if we have a solution for your. Our Toddler Sleep Plan Packages will walk you through the process of better sleep for your child which include two-weeks of support from a certified pediatric sleep consultant.
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If you are looking for other child sleep related topics, browse our blog to read up on sleep regressions, nap transitions and more!
Lindsay Loring is a baby sleep blogger and child sleep consultant.