Sleep: How much sleep does a newborn need? How much sleep do children need?

You’ve heard the rumour: new parents reportedly get just four hours and 44 minutes of sleep on average for the first year of their baby’s life. Sleep requirements differ for everyone, but on average adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and most older people still need seven hours to function at their best. 

How much sleep does a newborn need?

Contrary to popular belief, newborn babies don’t sleep very well.

Young babies are light sleepers, so need much more time in their cots.

Until three months, babies need 14 to 17 hours of sleep.

Once they pass three months, this drops to 12 to 16 hours until they are a year old.


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Why is my baby waking in the night?

Newborns spend around half of their sleep time in REM mode, the sleep phase where they dream, move and make noises

As they age, babies will slip into deeper sleep for longer periods of time.

Babies often wake up between different stages of sleep, sometimes crying or hungry.

Can newborns sleep too much?

All babies are different, and some sleep more than others.

However, it’s important to monitor this very carefully.  

Lack of sleep will show in the baby’s behaviour – they might be hyper and difficult to calm down, or they might cling to you and cry often.

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A baby who sleeps a lot is not normally a problem, unless there is no pattern at all. 

If your baby can’t tell night from day, you may need to set specific feeding times. 

You should also check with a medical professional that this sleepiness isn’t caused by an underlying medical issue like jaundice or an infection.

From there, see what your doctor recommends. 

How do I get my baby to sleep?

During pregnancy, your baby manage to sleep while you were going about your day-to-day life, so keep moving to get them to sleep.

Movement, like rocking or gently patting their backs, is relaxing for babies.

Mimic the cosy environment of your womb and keep that baby swaddled in a blanket if you can.

Babies aren’t too keen on silence since they’re used to the sound of your body functioning, play some calming music for them to drift off to.

Just like Goldilocks, your baby will be fussy about a room that’s too hot or too cold.

Overheating increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and chilly rooms will wake them up easily.

Finally, train your baby to recognise that darkness means bedtime by dimming the lights and closing the blinds or curtains.

How long should a newborn sleep without feeding?

Babies have tiny stomachs, meaning they feel full up quickly.

If you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby, holding them close will make them sleepy and they often fall asleep before they are full.

This is what causes babies to wake up so much, they are hungry.

Newborns need to be fed every two to four hours.

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