How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

Quality of sleep is important – but so is quantity. The actual number of hours that your child sleeps is an incredibly important factor for health and well-being.

A sleep study completed at Tel Aviv University demonstrates that even a one-hour shortage in appropriate sleep time will compromise a child’s alertness and brain functioning and increase fatigue in the early evening. That’s an amazing finding – and it calls for us to look very closely at the total number of hours our child is sleeping.

How much sleep does my child really need? @NoCrySolution #ElizabethPantley

Lucas, 2 yrs

How long has your child been awake?

The length of time that your child is awake from one sleep period to the next will also have a powerful impact on temperament, mood and behavior, so it is one more important consideration, and earns a prominent place on the chart. You’ll see that the span of “awake time” is very, very short for a newborn baby and this gradually increases over time.

Average hours of daytime and nighttime sleep needed

The following chart is an important guide to your child’s sleep hours. All children are different, and a few truly do need less (or more) sleep than shown here, but the vast majority of children have sleep needs that fall within the range shown on this chart.

How much sleep does my child really need? @NoCrySolution #ElizabethPantley

Elliot, 2 months

Newborn – Kindergarten Sleep Chart

Helpful Recommended Sleep Chart Elizabeth Pantley

*These are averages that do not necessarily represent unbroken stretches of sleep, since a brief awakening between sleep cycles is normal.

**The hours shown don’t always add up because, when children take longer naps, they may sleep less at night and vice versa.

*** Newborn babies sleep 16-18 hours per day, distributed evenly over 6 to 7 sleep periods.

No Cry Sleep Solution

Need more tips? The No-Cry Sleep Solution gives you even more gentle ways to get your child to sleep through the night.

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6 Comments

  1. We have a 2 yrs old, a 3 yrs old and a 5 yrs old. The youngest one is still day sleeping and gets enough sleep according to the chart of yours but I feel that the middle one doesn’t get enough. He sleeps in the same room with the oldest one and they go to bed at the same time at eight o’clock and they do wake up at the same time in the morning, at around seven o’clock. He is not sleeping during the day and at some point he seems very tired and crumpy too but eventually he gets over it and goes on with playing. Also, if he sleeps during the day, it will affect to the time when feels himself tired in the night and the time when he starts to sleep will be around nine o’clock.
    How do you suggest he could get some more sleep?
    Any ideas?

    Regards, Mari

    • Hi Mari, Probably the best idea is to have a daytime nap or “rest period” — I have several chapters on it in The No-Cry Nap Solution on this. If you want to send me an email I’ll send you an excerpt that fits your question. elizabeth@pantley.com You can also read excerpts here: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/books/index.html

  2. My 20 month old has never slept through the night and on average wakes 3 to 4 times wanting a bottle. He has a proper dinner etc so hes not hungry when he goes to bed at 7pm, given a bottle also. The most hes woken in the night is 17 times. Just the other night was 14 times. Im exhausted, hes in the room with me in his cot and for reasons out of my control i dont get to sleep in a room of my own. What do you suggest?

    • Hi Kathryn – Most often, when a nearly 2 year old is still waking up so many times it is an issue of relying on someone or something to help him sleep. You’ll need to determine what that is and change the process so that he can fall asleep on his own. There are several long chapters on this in The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers. Check out my website for excerpts and tips – nocrysolution.com

  3. My baby is 6 months old and doesn’t get close to that much sleep he will sleep 6-8 hours a night but he really does not nap if he does it’s about a hour nap once or twice a day. How do I get him to sleep more? He’s never really cranky but is it detrimental to his health?

    • Hi Mary – You are correct – lack of sleep is not just about being tired, it’s about health, development, mood and even learning. If you check this blog and my website I have lots of posts related to sleep (the #1 topic!). This one is a good place to start: https://elizabethpantley.com/learn-read-baby-tired-signs/