A bedtime chart by age can help parents create a predictable daily sleep and feeding schedule. Use this comprehensive chart to find the best bedtime for your baby or toddler.
When should your child go to sleep at night? How many day naps should she take? Is there an ideal bedtime for her?
These are only some of the questions parents ask when it comes to their child’s bedtime.
Well, I want to tell you that the best bedtime for your child depends on her age. For example, newborns need around 15 to 18 hours of sleep, while 8 months old need around 12 to 15 hours of sleep.
Whether it’s a newborn or a toddler, having a consistent bedtime for your child is important. A consistent bedtime routine will help your child fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and wake up rested. On the plus side, it can also help prevent future sleep problems.
If you got anxious and confused, don’t worry. I have all the information you need, right here.
Here’s a comprehensive bedtime chart by age for babies and toddlers. Use it to learn what’s a good bedtime routine for your child so that you can start creating a predictable daily sleep and feeding schedule.
Newborns: 15-18 hours
When babies are born, they’re all over the place. They don’t have a developed circadian rhythm and their sleep patterns are hectic. For those first few months, it’ll be hunger or the lack of it, that will determine when your newborn wakes up and sleeps.
Newborns need roughly 15 to 18 hours of sleep but only in short periods of two to four hours. They will wake up every few hours to breastfeed. There’s not much you can do. Watch their sleep cues closely and put them to sleep at the first sign of tiredness.
What may help is to make nighttime a peaceful and quiet time for them. Put on some blackout curtains, play some white noise, feed them, and try to lay them on their back. Make the days bright, light, and loud. This will help them correctly identify nights and days.
1-4 months old: 14 – 15 hours
Around 3 months of age, babies will start producing melatonin, which will put their sleep cycle into a more regular rhythm. As a result, you may notice more regular sleep patterns.
Melatonin is a natural, hormone-like substance produced by an area in the brain called the pineal gland. It is released naturally at night and tells the body it’s time to sleep.
Once they start producing this hormone, their internal body clock will start running properly. Day-night confusion ends.
1-4-month-old babies need around 14 to 15 hours of sleep per day. Many babies take two or three naps during the day, followed by a longer sleep stretch at night after a late-night feeding. You can expect four to six hours of sleep at night, as well as fewer night feedings.
To make sure your infant stays safe while asleep, here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Place your baby to sleep on the back, and not on the stomach.
- Use a firm sleep surface.
- Don’t put toys, pillows, or blankets in the crib.
- Dress your baby for the room temperature.
4-8 months old: 14-15 hours
Around four months, babies may start going through the four-month sleep regression. They may start fighting going to sleep, wake up at night more often, and stay awake for hours.
You can try rocking, patting, or nursing, but it won’t work.
Although it may sound scary, the four-month sleep regression is normal and happens to most babies. The reason for the sleep regression is the changes in the child’s brain. Their brain is continually evolving as they’re trying to adapt to their new environment. They may be going through a growth spurt or trying to master flipping over. Consequently, their sleep patterns may become more hectic.
Luckily there are some ways for dealing with the four-month sleep regression, including:
- Promote an early bedtime.
- Make sure your baby gets a good nap.
- Make sure your baby’s sleep environment is conducive to sleep (no noise or light).
- Introduce sleep training.
When babies are four to eight months old, they need 14-15 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period. Regular naps should also appear during this time, at the beginning four and then down to three naps per day. Once they transition from four to three naps per day, try adjusting their bedtime by putting them to sleep at an earlier bedtime, at around 6-7:30 p.m.
If you want to gradually teach your baby how to sleep more independently, you may want to avoid running to their room or their crib every time you hear a whimper. Doing so will only set in motion a pattern that’s hard to break.
8-10 months old: 12-15 hours
In addition to the four-month sleep regression, babies may also go through the eight-month sleep regression. As the name tells us, it happens when a baby reaches the age of eight months old.
Babies may start waking up multiple times a night again and not be able to soothe themselves to sleep, even though they could do it before.
Experts say that this sleep regression usually happens due to a developmental leap, like learning to crawl, and a shift in nap schedule.
Eight-months old lose the third nap and start taking only two naps per day. This can cause disturbances in their night sleep.
If your baby drops her third nap, start putting her to sleep at an earlier bedtime to avoid overtiredness.
10-15 months old: 12-14 hours
By this time, your child will be taking two naps per day and would need around 12 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period.
It’s recommended to stick with two naps until your baby turns 15-18 months. Once she reaches that age, you can drop the second nap and let her take only one nap per day.
Be aware that this is also the time when the 12-month sleep regression may appear out of nowhere. It’s connected to all the new skills your little one is picking up during the day. She may be excited about her discoveries and end up feeling fidgety and wanting to practice these new skills at all hours of the night.
Luckily for you, the 12-month sleep regression only lasts for about two weeks. During its peak, if your baby refuses to sleep during the day, put her down at an earlier bedtime to make up for lost nap sleep.
15 months-3 years: 12-14 hours
Once your child reaches the age of 18 months, you can drop the second nap and introduce one-time naps during the day. That nap shouldn’t be longer than 2-2.5 hours.
When you transition from two to only one nap, use the earlier bedtime to make up for any lost sleep.
By 2 years of age, it’s recommended to put your child to sleep at around 7:00 as your earliest bedtime.
3-5 years old: 11-13 hours
Children aged 3-5 years old need around 11-13 hours of sleep. Many children give up the afternoon nap or have a day nap of about an hour.
If your child drops napping altogether, try putting her to sleep at an earlier bedtime so that she gets roughly 12 hours of sleep. You use the later bedtime if your child is still taking her afternoon nap.
It’s important to keep in mind that sleep is critical for preschoolers when it comes to their health, growth, and development. Getting the right amount of sleep also improves their immune system and lowers the risk of infection and illness.
Don’t forget to get some rest yourself
Although your child may be getting your full attention and devotion, it’s important to remind yourself that you should take care of yourself as well.
As the main caregiver of your child, you must feel refreshed and rested in order to provide the best care.
Avoid getting overtired and get the sleep you need. There’s evidence that suggests that sleep deprivation can have serious long-term negative consequences, including depression, as well as marital problems.
When your baby is taking her nap, try to make good use of those 30 minutes by catching a nap yourself. Or, try sharing nights with your partner. Your partner takes the first portion of the night to tend to the child, and the next one goes to you.
Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your little one.