How Much Sleep Do Babies Need? Age-Wise Schedule Chart

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New parents may wonder about several aspects of their baby’s sleep, including how much do babies sleep and if they can sleep too much. A sound, adequate sleep is important for the baby’s health. The daily sleep hours of the baby include daytime naps, which are equally essential for the baby’s well-being.

Although all babies spend a significant number of hours asleep, the timing and duration of sleep may differ depending on the baby’s age. Read on to know about the amount of sleep required by a baby, including the steps to be taken when they are not getting enough sleep and some tips to change their sleep habits.

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Newborn babies are asleep for most of the day. As the babies grow older, they start consolidating their sleep and stay awake for longer hours. Here are the baby sleep recommendations as per age (1) (2).

AgeTotal hours of sleep in 24 hours
Newborn (0-3 months)14-17 hours, including naps
Infant (4-12 months)12-16 hours, including naps
Toddler (1-2 years)11-14 hours, including naps
Preschooler (3-5 years)10-13 hours, including naps

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Below are some notable attributes of a baby’s sleep as per their age (3) (4).

  • Newborn babies (0-3 months): The sleep cycle includes multiple short naps as they often wake up to feed. The total nap time is around 3-4 hours. Newborns do not have a fixed sleep pattern and may sleep at different segments of day and night. Most do not sleep for the entire night. Parents mostly have to work with variable newborn sleep schedules and adjust according to their needs.
  • Infants (4-12 months): The nap time may reduce, but they may still nap for about 2-3 hours a day. Infants start consolidating their naps and sleep for longer hours at six months. Most start sleeping through the night at this age. However, they may continue to sleep for 3-4 hours during the daytime.
  • Toddler (1-2 years): The nap time and the number of naps reduce. Toddlers may nap only for 1-2 hours a day.
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): A significant number of preschoolers (about 50%) stop napping regularly by the age of three.
  • Premature babies: Premature babies sleep for a longer duration compared to full-term babies. A full-term baby may usually sleep 70% of the time in 24 hours, while a preterm baby may sleep for nearly 90% of the time. Their sleep may also not be as deep or consistent as full-term babies. The sleep patterns of preterm babies gradually become similar to those of full-term babies over the first year of their life.

How Many Naps Does A Baby Need?

The naps vary according to the baby’s age and sleep requirements. Here are the number of naps a baby takes as per their age (3).

  • 0-5 months old: The baby may take 1-5 naps in a day. The average number of naps is three.
  • 6-11 months old: Most babies start taking fewer naps and sleeping through the night during this age. A baby may take about 1-4 naps per day with an average of two naps a day.
  • 12-35 months old: The number of naps may reduce further as the baby grows into a toddler. They may take only about 0-2 naps per day with an average of one nap. Some toddlers may stop taking naps completely.

Can Infants Sleep Too Much?

Babies may sometimes sleep in excess, and it may not always indicate a problem. The sleep pattern depends on several factors, such as the baby’s stage of development, age, health, daily routine, home environment, culture, and family (3). Some infants may sleep for shorter durations, while some may sleep for a long time.

Sleeping an extra hour or two does not matter. If the baby is healthy, gaining appropriate weight, and urinating and pooping the required number of times, there may be no issue. However, a newborn should not sleep more than 2-3 hours at a stretch during the day or more than four hours at night without breastfeeding.

If a newborn does not wake up, they need to be woken and fed. Newborns need to feed 8-12 times a day, while bottle-fed or older infants need to feed 5-8 times a day. Appropriate urine and stool colors are good indicators of a well-nourished infant (5). Consult a medical professional if you are concerned that the baby is sleeping too much or the baby’s excess sleep is interfering with feeding.

What If Your Baby Is Not Sleeping Enough?

Seek a doctor’s opinion if your baby is sleeping less than the recommended hours or showing signs of tiredness but not sleeping. A pediatrician can determine if there is an underlying health issue or sleep deprivation problem (2).

Here are a few techniques that may help the baby sleep better.

  • Developing a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine
  • Improving the sleep environment — eliminating exposure to stimuli, putting them to bed in a quiet, dark room
  • Implementing good practices such as putting the baby to bed when they are drowsy
  • Encouraging behavioral modifications that could help in sleep, such as self-soothing
  • Establishing safe sleep measures, such as crib with high guard rails

How To Modify Your Baby’s Sleep Habits?

You may consider modifying your baby’s sleep habits if you feel they are erratic or inappropriate. However, a baby’s sleep habits cannot be modified in a day. It may take about 3-14 days for a baby to adjust to the new routine. The following measures and interventions may help improve the baby’s sleep schedule and habits (6).

1. Determine the habits associated with the sleep issue

Certain sleep aids and techniques may cause the baby to grow dependent on them, making it difficult for the baby to sleep without them. Below are a few habit-forming sleep aids.

  • Rocking the baby to sleep
  • Feeding the baby right before their bedtime
  • Letting them go to sleep at a spot other than their bed, such as your arms
  • Playing music during bedtime
  • Giving them a pacifier to help them sleep when they cannot put it back themselves

2. Gradually eliminate sleep habits that cause sleep issues

Eliminate the sleep habits that may cause night awakening in the baby before establishing a new sleep routine. Here are a few techniques to achieve this step.

  • Do not place the pacifier back in the baby’s mouth and wait for the baby to self-soothe without the pacifier. You may consider eliminating the use of a pacifier during sleep if you feel the baby has become habituated to it. Older babies can be taught to handle their pacifiers without the mother’s aid.
  • Feeding right before bedtime may make the baby associate feeding with sleeping. You could avoid this by feeding at least 20 minutes before bedtime. If the baby is already six months old, you may consider phasing out the night feeds.
  • If your baby sleeps by listening to music and needs it again to go back to sleep, stop playing it around bedtime.

3. Create a positive bedtime routine

A positive bedtime routine includes multiple activities performed in the same order at the same time each night before bedtime. A few activities before bedtime include giving a bath, storytime, cuddling, and lights out. The routine should be comfortable for both you and the baby. Follow it consistently to see results. You may also ensure that your baby naps appropriately during the day to prevent overtiredness and difficulty with the bedtime routine at night.

4. Teach your baby to self-soothe

Babies should be taught to fall asleep on their own or go back to sleep on their own if they wake up during the night. The following techniques may help in teaching self-soothing to the baby.

  • Controlled crying: The controlled crying or controlled comforting method involves slowly reducing the attention you give to your baby when they wake up in the middle of their sleep. It is done by gradually reducing the time spent pacifying the baby at night, stopping the pacification eventually.
  • Camping out: Place the baby in the crib and sit on a chair next to it. Gradually increase the distance from the crib each night until you stop sitting next to the crib entirely. It is also called the no tears method and is useful for babies who need a parent’s company to fall asleep.

These two techniques prove to be effective in nearly 80% of the cases. Choose the method that suits you best. However, keep the following points in mind to ensure maximum efficacy.

  • These techniques may lead to a significant change in your baby’s life. Therefore, do not try these methods when the baby is experiencing another life event or change, such as a change of home or illness.
  • If you sleep in the same room, you may add a screen between your bed and the baby’s crib. It could encourage your baby to self-soothe to sleep since they cannot see you.
  • Since you are trying a new sleep routine, the baby might take longer to fall asleep. Ensure that you and the baby compensate for missed sleep through daytime naps.

Many parents wonder how much babies should sleep. Since each baby is different and may achieve developmental milestones at different ages, their sleep patterns may also vary. Try to keep track of your baby’s sleep duration and follow the mentioned tips, such as maintaining a bedtime routine and using sleep aids. If you notice your baby sleeping a little longer or less than other babies, do not worry. However, if your baby is becoming irritated or you notice a concerning change in their health, consult your pediatrician to determine the possible underlying issue behind their excessive or reduced sleep.

Key Pointers

  • A baby’s sleep requirements and nap frequencies vary with their age.
  • Sleeping for long hours at a stretch without feeding breaks may be problematic for a baby.
  • Creating a soothing sleep environment implementing proper sleeping routines and practices could help solve sleeping issues in babies.
  • You can try modifying inappropriate sleeping routines by identifying and reducing the behaviors that cause sleeping troubles.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. How Much Sleep Do I Need?; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2. How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need?; Sleep Foundation
3. Sleep health and sleep development in Early Childhood Education and Care; Early Childhood Education and Care; Queensland Government
4. Bennet L, Walker DW, and Horne RSC, Waking up too early – the consequences of preterm birth on sleep development; Journal of Physiology
5. Breastfeeding; Infant Nutrition and Feeding; WIC Works Resource System
6. Changing Your Baby’s Sleep Patterns; Baby Bonus; Ministry of Social and Family Development; Singapore Government
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Dr. Dur Afshar Agha

Dr. Dur Afshar Agha is a consultant pediatrician with decades of experience in various medical facilities both in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. She has headed the Department of Preventive Pediatrics at the prestigious, Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health in Pakistan and is a life member of the Pakistan Paediatric Association. She has also completed her Post Graduate Program... more

Shivali Karande

Shivali holds a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s in management. After working for nearly five years in the market research sector, she discovered her passion for writing and started freelancing. Her knowledge about medicines and biology, coupled with her experience in research, helps her write well-researched, informative, and evidence-based articles. For MomJunction, she writes articles on health and... more