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Article: How much sleep does a newborn need?

How much sleep does a newborn need?

How much sleep does a newborn need?

  A night of quality sleep is also essential for a baby to grow healthily and get enough nutrition.  When a baby is asleep, his brain is not actually resting but developing. A baby who sleeps well is usually healthier and in a good mood. Many parents would like to know: how much sleep does a newborn need? Should I pick my baby up and soothe him when he cries? Why does my baby sleep later than other babies?

How much sleep does a newborn need per day?

  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) made the official recommendations for the amount of children’s sleep per day. And the data is also supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations


Recommended Sleep hours per 24 Hour Period

Infants: 4 to 12 months

12 to 16 hours (including naps)

Toddlers: 1 to 2 years

11 to 14 hours (including naps)

Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years

10 to 13 hours (including naps)

Gradeschoolers: 6 to 12 years

9 to 12 hours

Teens: 13 to 18 years

8 to 10 hours

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a Statement of Endorsement supporting these guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

  The AASM recommended that the amount of a baby's sleep is associated with the baby’s attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional control, quality of life, and physical and mental health. Too little sleep can easily lead to problems with your baby’s attention, behavior, learning, and emotions. Too much sleep can increase the risk of hypertension, diabetes, overweight, mental problems, etc. The recommended amount of sleep the above chart shows is the total sleep time, including nighttime sleep and daytime naps. Newborns less than 4 months old sleep irregularly. So experts were unable to conclude the specific sleep amount of newborn babies. Newborns usually sleep for 15-18 hours per day.

  In 2015, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) also published a recommendation for the amount of sleep for people of each age group.

National Sleep Foundation Recommended Amount of Sleep


Recommended Sleep hours per 24 Hour Period

Newborns: 0-3 months

14 to 17 hours

Infants: 4-11 months

12 to 15 hours

Toddlers: 1-2 years

11 to 14 hours

Pre-school: 3-5 years

10 to 13 hours

School Age: 6-13 years

9 to 11 hours

Teen: 14-17 years

8 to 10 hours

Young Adult: 18-25 years

7 to 9 hours


  You can see that the two recommendations are roughly the same amount of people’s sleep.

the sleep pattern of babies

  There are basically two main states of people’s sleep. One is non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, also known as quiet sleep. And the NREM sleep in adults can be further subdivided into four stages. People’s bodies can release growth-promoting hormones during deep sleep, an important time for replenishing energy and promoting tissue growth and repair. The other is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, also known as active sleep. During this period, people always have active brain activity and keep dreaming. Active sleep is essential for the brain development of babies.

  Infants have different sleep patterns from adults. Adults usually have a sleep cycle of 90-100 minutes. They usually go into a quiet state at the beginning and finally move to active sleep. Most adults spend about 20% of their entire sleep time in active sleep. When a sleep cycle ends, adults will wake up or go back to sleep in the next sleep cycle.

  Babies have a very short sleep cycle, usually only 50-60 minutes. And they will go into active sleep first and then to quiet sleep. Newborns spend about 50% of their sleep time in active sleep. Newborns are most likely to wake up during the night. Parents are always exhausted.


  Most newborns need to sleep 16-17 hours a day. And their sleep is not regular. Newborns usually sleep 30 minutes to 4 hours at a time and are awake not more than 1-2 hours at a time. If your baby has been awakened for too long, it is easier to be overtired, making it more difficult for him to fall asleep again and then cry because he can not sleep. During this period, mom and dad should pay more attention to the baby's body state. If you find that your baby is sleepy, you should try to let your baby sleep more. Newborns need to be fed once every 2-3 hours, so it is convenient for mom and dad to follow the schedule.

6-8 weeks

  Most babies at this period can distinguish between day and night. They will have more waking hours during the day and more sleeping hours each time. They are not waking up as often as before. But most babies in this period still need to wake up at night to drink milk.

3-4 months

  Many babies are already sleeping regularly during the day at this time. Babies at 3-4 months usually take about 2-4 naps every day. Parents can set a daily schedule according to the baby's biological clock to help the baby develop good habits. And some babies even may already start to be able to sleep through the night. They can sleep for 6-8 hours at a time. 

6-9 months

  During this period, babies no longer need to drink night milk. And they can sleep continuously for a longer time.

  Babies over 6 months old usually start to be able to distinguish between different adults. So at this time, they are also likely to have separation anxiety They will become restless and cry when they wake up in the middle of the night without seeing their parents.

set good sleep habits for your babies

  Babies are not born with good sleep habits, and they must be trained with parents' help.

create a comfortable sleep environment

  Discomfort is the main reason your little one wakes up in the middle of the night. Babies prefer to sleep in cooler temperatures. So parents should set an appropriate temperature for their babies. If the weather is too hot and there is no air conditioning at home, you can consider opening the windows. But remember not to let the wind blow directly on the baby, which is easy for the baby to catch a cold. 

dim the light at night

  The dark environment stimulates the baby’s body to secrete melatonin, which promotes sleep and is key in adjusting your baby's biological clock. So let your baby stay in a bright room during the day and sleep in a dark environment at night. Dim the light in the evening, even if your baby is awake. It can gradually help newborns adjust their routine and teach them to distinguish between day and night.

learn to observe your baby

  It's much easier for parents to put their baby to sleep when the baby is a little sleepy. So learning to read a baby's body cues can be very helpful for parents. When newborns are tired or want to sleep, they will probably cry, be impatient, etc.. At this time, you can let your baby sleep.

naps during the day are necessary and important

  Some studies have shown that infants who can have the nap habit during the day are more likely to learn new things and have a stronger ability to concentrate. On the contrary, infants who sleep for a short time during the day, their attentions are intermittent.

  Some parents may worry that the baby sleeps too much during the day. They will not sleep at night. But if the baby has suitable naps during the day, he will sleep better at night.  

How to soothe a newborn?

  When a newborn baby arrives in a strange world, it will be easy to feel scared. So the American pediatrician Harvey Neil Karp invented a 5S approach to soothing newborns:


  After birth, newborn babies are usually wrapped in a swaddle. The swaddle can simulate a similar environment to make the baby feel he is still in the mother's womb. Or you can get your baby a swaddling sleep sack directly.

How to swaddle a baby?

Sleeping on the side:

  Let the baby lie on his side to help him be easy to fall asleep. But when the baby sleeps, put him to sleep on the back. Sleeping on the back is a safe, natural sleep position that can prevent the baby's mouth and nose from being covered by swaddles and suffocation.

White noise:

  Because the mother's womb is filled with amniotic fluid, so making some white noise can help babies feel safe and have a more restful sleep.


  A gentle swing can make the baby feel like in the mother's belly and help your baby fall asleep easily.


  Sucking a pacifier can soothe the baby and make him feel safe. 

Can babies sleep with a pacifier?

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Yujia Shi

An expert in sleep sack design, is a valued contributor to Kaiya Baby's blog. With a strong background in baby sleep bags and maternal care, she is highly regarded for her professionalism. Yujia Shi prioritizes baby comfort and safety in her designs, using high-quality materials. Her insightful articles on sleep bags have been featured in reputable publications and have gained a significant readership. Trust Yujia Shi to help you create a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your baby, backed by her proven track record in the industry.

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