When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

By Aaron Van Ningen, MD Nov 14, 2016

When you’re trying to help your baby fall asleep, the most important thing parents can do is develop a good bedtime routine that is done consistently, in the same order and around the same time every night. Children (and adults) rely on that routine to tell their bodies that it is time to sleep.

Here are some general guidelines to help you know how much sleep babies need at different ages:

  • Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

When I have parents with sleep questions, I suggest following the DREAM concept of sleep, which is adapted from Dr. Carol Ash, Director of Sleep Medicine at Meridian Health.

DREAM concept of sleep

  • Drowsy – Make sure you put them to sleep drowsy, but awake.
  • Rules and Routine – It’s important for setting expectations and consistency, so the brain gets the cues that it is time to go to sleep.
  • Electronics – Screens need to be out of room and away from the child. The light from electronics tricks the child’s brain into staying awake. Limiting light for about 60-90 minutes before sleep causes the brain to release melatonin, which causes you to fall asleep.
  • Ambiance – Make it quiet, dark, cool and cozy to create an environment ready for sleep.
  • Model behaviors – Kids see what you do and will want to do what their parents do.

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