Skip to main content

How much sleep your child needs

Every child has a different sleep pattern. Some babies need more or less sleep than other babies. Read about how much sleep your baby, toddler or child needs at each stage from their birth

Every child has a different sleep pattern. It often takes several months for a baby's day to night pattern of wake and sleep to become settled.

From birth, some babies need more or less sleep than other babies. The list below shows the average amount of sleep babies and young children need.

Related topics

Sleep routine for babies and young children

Naps for babies and young children

0 to 3 months

Your baby needs between 9 to 18 hours sleep over a day. Fourteen-and-a-half hours is the average time that most babies sleep for at this age.

Your baby may go straight to sleep after a feed. Between feeds, they will usually sleep for between 1 to 3 hours. Some babies sleep more than others.

As they have not yet developed a day to night pattern, their sleep is more likely controlled by their tummies. If they are full, they sleep and if they are hungry, they wake. Look for signs that your baby is tired.

Background noises such as music or children playing may not wake them but a sudden loud noise might. It is important to put your baby to bed drowsy but awake. This means that they fall asleep where they will be waking up.

Breastfeeding mothers need to be aware of the amount of caffeine they take as this may affect their baby's sleep.

3 to 6 months

Your baby needs between 12 to 14 hours sleep across the day and night. They will usually nap for around 3 to 4 hours.

Your baby may still go straight to sleep after a feed. They'll then wake for a while before the next feed is due. By about 6 months your baby will stay awake and be more alert between feeds.

It is normal for your baby to have a brief waking during the night. At this stage they are starting to identify the difference between day and night. A bedtime routine at this age is very helpful to show your baby that sleep time is approaching.

By about 6 months

Your baby needs about 10 to 11 hours sleep a night. They need 2 to 3 naps during the day.

They should sleep for between 1.5 to 2 hours for each of the first two naps. The third nap will be shorter. At this age, babies are less likely to sleep after a feed.

By about 9 months

Your baby needs about 10 to 12 hours sleep a night.

Night feeds are no longer needed if your baby is fully weaned on to solid foods. But if you're breastfeeding, you may need to continue feeds at night.

Your baby will usually need 2 naps during the day of about 1.5 to 2 hours each.

From this age on, babies shouldn't sleep after 3.30pm as it can effect bedtime.

By about 1 year

Your baby needs about 10 to 12 hours sleep a night.

Your baby will usually need 2 naps during the day of about 1 to 2 hours each.

By about 18 months

Your child needs about 11 to 12 hours sleep a night.

Your child will usually need 1 nap during the day of about 1.5 to 2 hours. This is usually around lunchtime.

By about 2 years

Your child needs about 11 to 12 hours sleep a night.

They need 1 nap during the day for between 1.5 to 2 hours.

From about 2 to 3 years

Your child needs around 11 to 12 hours of sleep a night.

They need 1 nap during the day of about 1 hour. The length depends on your child and their activity that day. Try not to let your child nap beyond mid-afternoon. They need to be tired and ready for sleep again by night time.

From about 3 to 5 years

Your child needs around 11 to 12 hours of sleep a night.

At aged 3, your child may need 1 nap during the daytime of about 1 hour. Not all children need this nap. Some quiet time reading and playing may be enough.

When your child comes home from pre-school, especially in the beginning, they may be very tired. This is because of their new routine and activity.

Holidays or illness or a change in routine can often upset sleep. Try get them back into a good bedtime routine as soon as you can after the event.

Related topics

Sleep routine

Page last reviewed: 14/11/2018
Next review due: 14/11/2021