Common Age by Stage Sleep Schedules
BLOG UPDATED SUMMER 2016 after American Academy of Sleep Medicine Recommends New Guidelines including:
- Infants 4-12 months: 12-16 hours total in 24 hours
- Children 1-2 years: 11-14 hours total in 24 hours
- Children 3-5 years: 10-13 hours total in 24 hours
As you can see, this is a wide range! Having a sense of “what’s normal” is an important first step in developing a plan for improving your child’s sleep You want to be sure you are asking your baby or toddler to do something he’s capable of doing! Use the following charts as a guide for helping you determine age appropriate schedules and expectations for your baby or toddler.
The following are the most common sleep schedules by age, but please see the new Guidelines listed above and talk to your child’s pediatrician to determine your child’s individual needs:
|Age of Baby||Number of Naps||Nap Spacing||Day Sleep Notes||Approx Total Day Sleep|
|0-4 months||On Demand (usually 4-5)||45 – 120 mins awake time between naps. Nap irregularity in frequency and duration is common.||No schedule yet, keep baby rested. Avoid overtiredness and long stretches of wakefulness. Don’t be afraid to soothe your baby – s/he needs sleep! Single sleep cycle naps (30-45 mins) are common in the second half of this phase.||Many babies will sleep 15-16 hours in 24 hours during first 2-3 months, then decreases to more like 14-15 hours +/- by 3-4 months|
|4-6 months||4 down to 3||4 months – single sleep cycle (30-45 mins naps) are still normal (see our nap 101 series). By 5-6 months, babies are capable of lengthening naps, though may need nap assistance to learn that skill. 2-2 ½ hours awake time between naps. On 3 nap pattern, third nap is shortest (30-45 mins)||Schedule is emerging. Prioritize your baby’s naps, paying attention to sleep location and environment now. Start your day at a regular time (30 min window), work towards three nap a day pattern with longer wake times between the naps by 6 months.||3 -4 ½ hours|
|6-9 months||3 down to 2||3 nap schedule: 2-2 ½ hours between naps 2 nap pattern: Ladder schedule. Approx. 2-3-4 hours between each sleep session starting with morning wake.||Schedule is solidifying, keep bed/wake times regular. With three good naps, night sleep may condense (night shortens, typically later bedtime). When naps transition from 3 to 2, night sleep increases (earlier bedtime) and ladder style schedule of increasing stretches of wakefulness after each nap.||3 – 4 hours|
|9-15 months||2 naps until approx. 12-15 months, then transition to 1 nap||2 naps: typical schedule: wake up – apprx. 2.5 hours awake – nap – 3+ hours awake – nap – apprx 4+ hours awake– bed.1 nap: typical schedulewake up – 4-6 hours awake – nap – 4-5 hours awake – bed.May have catnaps before or after main nap during transition||Night shortens again (later bedtimes) before the 2-1 nap transition. Night lengthens (earlier bedtime) after the 2-1 nap transition. Keep bed/wake times regular, but compensate with earlier bedtimes when needed for overtiredness.||3 + hrs up to 12 months, then down to 2-2 ½ +/- hours with nap transition|
|15 – 36 months||1||Wake up – 4-6 hours awake– nap – 5+ hours awake – bed||After transition, which may take several weeks, long period of regularity. Be careful of catnaps. Be careful of late naps plus early bedtimes which can lead to early am wake ups. A napping 3 year old will have a shorten night than a napping 18 month old.||2+ hours|
|36+ months||1 to 0||Wake up– 6+ hours awake– nap – 5-6 hours awake – bed||Naps are very beneficial at this age, even though nights will shorten quite a bit with a napping preschooler. Allow enough wake time in afternoon/evening to rebuild sleep pressure for a smoother bedtime.||1-2 hours|
- general guidelines for healthy babies. Some families may choose and enjoy more wakings and more feedings than shown in this table.
|Age of Baby||Number of Feedings/Wakings||Night Sleep Notes||Total Night Sleep|
|0-4 months||On demand under three months. After three months 2-3 feedings after first 4-5 hour stretch||Bedtimes are late and erratic in the first 2-3 months, but drift earlier and regulate around the third month. First third of the night consolidates around 3 months. Last third remains erratic. Some babies will sleep long 7-9 hour stretches in the first 3 months, which often changes suddenly around 4 months (4 month regression).Swaddling essential unless rolling.Start good sleep hygiene (dark, cool, quiet rooms) around 7-10 weeks||9-11 hours
Approx total sleep in 24 hours: 15 – 16
|4-6 months||2-1 feedings after first 5-8 hour stretch.||Regular bed and wake times, with well consolidated sleep before first and second feedings. feedings. Great sleep environments.Stop swaddle with rolling.Avoid dream feedings.Last third of the night remains erratic.Four (or 5, or 6) month regression is common)Sleep Training may begin if desired||10 – 12 hours
Approx total sleep in 24 hours: 13.5 – 15 (if your baby is sleeping 4 hours during the day, it is unlikely s/he will do a 12 hour night).
|6-9 months||7-9 hours without feeding, then 0-1 feedings.||Older babies who are still taking three average length naps will almost certainly not do 12 hours. Night lengthens (bedtime earlier) when third nap drops awake.Full night consistency is developing through the last third of the night.Babies are old enough to find pacifier around 7-8 months old.||10.5 – 12 hours
Approx total sleep in 24 hours: 13.5 – 15
|9-15 months||Parents’ choice. May be helpful to have one feeding in last third of the night for extended breast – feeding.||Separation anxiety and developmental milestones may cause new regressions.||10.5 – 12 hours
Approx total sleep in 24 hours 13 – 14
|15 – 30 months||Parents’ choice.Early morning feeding may help with extended breastfeeding.||Long period of regularity. Fears and bedtime battles at bedtime may appear.||10-12 hours
Approx total sleep in 24 hours:
12 – 14
|36+ months||Parents’ choice.||Non napping preschoolers need at least 11 hours of night sleep. Napping preschoolers may only do 11-12 hours total in 24 hours.||9-11+ hours
Approx total sleep in 24 hours 11 +/-
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© 2014 Baby Sleep Science: Sleep Resource Center