Baby Serenity UK


How much sleep do we need?

Sleep is very important whether you are a baby, child, teenager or adult. A child requires a good amount of sleep for its growth and development and also to maintain a strong immune system and building brain connections. In children an important factor in the production of the human growth hormone is sleep. 

Sleep requirements are individual and some children require less than their peers. Each baby has its own pattern of waking and sleeping and this will probably not match your own sleep pattern. The important thing to remember is to try and rest while your baby has a sleep. Newborns will wake throughout the night for feeds as will a baby of a few months old. This can vary from baby to baby and also factors such as whether baby is breast or bottle fed. 

Sleep Cycles: These vary depending on age.

A newborn sleep cycle can be as short as 20 minutes but can extend to 40 minutes.

An infant sleep cycle will be slightly longer from 30 minutes to 60 minutes .

Adults sleep cycle are usually around 90 minutes.

When you look at the short sleep cycle of the newborn, it is easy to understand why your baby can stir very easily after the 20 minutes and may not go back to sleep. Sometimes they will start to make movements and appear awake and often baby is then taken out of the cot as they appear wakeful which stimulates them.  However, if we respond to this by assisting baby in going back to sleep or leaving them for a short time to see if they can fall back to sleep themselves, they can sometimes fall back into another sleep cycle. This does not always work but the more baby is given the opportunity to fall back into another sleep cycle, the more he will be able do so independently.

Overall Sleep requirments: This is a guide only as individual requirments mean some babies will sleep longer or less than others. The average is usually in the middle range of times given.

Newborn-3 months: Babies of this age group can require a lot of sleep. This can range from between 12 and 20 hours in a 24 hour period. Babies will usually sleep for between 1 to 3 hours and there will be several wakeups overnight for feeds. Newborns are often tired after an hour which increases to around an hour and a half as they get a bit older.

3-6 months: This can range from between 10 and 18 hours in a 24 hour period. There are around 3 to 4 day sleeps depending on age. There are usually longer periods of sleep overnight, although baby still requires feeds overnight. Towards 6 months of age the night feeds will reduce and some babies cease night feeds altogether by this age, but some will continue to feed during the night. Wake times during the day are around 1 and 1/2 hours to 2 and 1/2 hours (towards the older age range). 

6-12 months: This age group require between 11 and 16 hours sleep during the 24 hour period. Day naps will start to drop to two day sleeps during this age range. Baby may still require a feed overnight. Wake times will usually be around 2 to 3 hours. 

Around the age of 18 months, your toddler will probably drop to one day sleep. Again, this can vary from child to child. They often sleep for around 2 to 3 hours during the day. 

As your child gets a bit older, they will drop this day sleep, but again this varies from child to child. Be guided by his tired signs and cues. It may just be that he needs some quiet time on his bed during the day and he may sit and look at a book or just lie down without sleeping. This if fine as he is still resting. 



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