How Often Do Babies Sleep?

A baby will sleep for most of the day and night. Infants, especially, spend most of their time napping, only waking to feed before drifting back to sleep. But how often a baby sleeps is different from one baby to another. Some parents get shocked that their babies are awake for too long, while others complain their babies sleep too much.

While sleep patterns differ, age is one factor that determines how often a baby sleeps, and for how long. The younger the baby is, the more the number of naps they will take. They will sleep less at night, frequently waking to feed. As they age, the sleep pattern shifts to more night sleep and fewer daytime naps, which are shorter and far spaced.

How Often Do Babies Sleep Based on Age, and for How Long?

  • Newborns-3-month-olds should have around ten hours of sleep at night, and five hours of daytime naps ( the naps are short, usually less than one hour in length)
  • 4-5-month-old babies need on average of twelve hours of night sleep, and around four hours or less of naps which should be more than one hour long
  • 6-8-month-olds should sleep for about twelve hours at night, and sleep for about three hours during the day in naps taking at least one hour or more
  • 9-17-month-olds require around twelve hours of sleep time at night, with daytime naps being more than one hour long, and taking at least three hours on average
  • From 18 months-3 years, the baby requires an average of twelve hours of night-time sleep, and a single daytime nap one to three hours long
  • Babies who are three to five years of age need about eleven hours of sleep at night and one nap during the day that’s at least one hour long
  • Babies of over five years need about eleven hours of sleep and no nap during the day
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What if Your Baby’s Sleep Pattern Doesn’t Rhyme With the Above Times?

Don’t worry; the above sleep times are in no way fixed; they will vary from child to child. The sleep pattern of your baby may not conform to the averages, but that should not bother you a lot, provided the baby looks comfortable, and the drift from the figures is not caused by illness. But if still concerned, talking to a doctor about it is advisable to avoid anxiety resulting from the worry. And, still, there could be an underlying problem that the doctor might just diagnose.

What Factors Determine How Long and How Often a Baby Sleeps?

The length of time your baby sleeps will depend on how ‘easy’ you make it for the baby to sleep. Do you follow a routine? Do you feed the baby well or cuddle it to sleep? If a baby is not well fed and comfortable, it will take time to sleep, or wake up too soon into a nap.

Here are tips on how to soothe your baby to sleep better and for long

  • Tip 1. Happiness doesn’t in no way mean the baby is in no need to sleep. Even if they appear comfortable to be awake, sleep is vital. So, try to make a baby who is happy being awake to catch some sleep. Cuddle them, or sing them a lullaby to make them doze off.
  • Tip 2. Don’t keep a baby awake for too long with the idea it will lengthen the sleep time. Contrary to what most parents believe, sleeping late doesn’t mean your baby will sleep for longer. In fact, the tiredness that catches babies who stay awake for too long makes them wake up soon after falling asleep.
  • Tip 3. Check the baby regularly to see if it needs to be changed; it could be the reason for not falling asleep. Hunger, too, can cause, same as discomfort as a result of the baby not feeling well. Sometimes it requires you to put the baby in a comfortable position, and it will drift off to sleep.
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Bonus Tip. Don’t try to force your baby to adhere to any particular sleep pattern. Babies are different, and one baby’s pattern would be discomfort to another. Avoid worrying too much and focus on making the baby comfortable to sleep when it feels like. Or you can soothe it to sleep in the best possible means, like singing a lullaby or breastfeeding it to a nap.

Sleep times of babies differ, and knowing the pattern your baby follows helps you to maximize on it. Make the baby comfortable at all times to make them fall asleep on their own, but if not forthcoming, use comfortable means to induce it.