A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

How Long Should Babies Sleep?

Early sleep is better for baby

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—A good night’s rest is great for babies and parents. Infants, ages 4 to 11 months, get an average of 12 to 15 hours of sleep per day. But what happens if a baby isn’t sleeping that long?

Sleep is crucial for physical and mental development. However, when babies are not sleeping for as long as parents hope, is this something they should be concerned about? Researchers from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia analyzed data from a sleep tracking app from over 800 babies ages 1 day to 36 months. They gathered data from nearly 157,000 sleep sessions over a 19-month period. Scientists found that most babies had an erratic sleep pattern for the first five months. After the babies were five months old, they started showing more predictable sleep patterns.

The researchers also found that the amount the babies slept varied greatly along with their bedtimes. Some babies slept for as little as six hours at night, while others slept for 15 hours. They found for every hour later babies were put down to bed, they got 30 minutes less sleep. So, parents, putting your child to bed earlier may help them to sleep more.

Experts suggest that a baby’s bedtime should be between 7 P.M. and 8 P.M., as the earlier they go to bed, the better they sleep.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Sources: https://www.sleep.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-babies-need/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27252030, https://www.happiestbaby.com/blogs/baby/babys-bedtime)

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