S.T.E.A.M. Day

How do I know if my baby is sleeping enough?

Sleep needs vary substantially from baby to baby. Just because your baby sleeps less than the average baby does not mean they lack sleep. Conversely, just because your baby falls within the broad range of normal sleep variations doesn’t mean that things won’t go wrong. For reference, here are some infant sleep guidelines:


‘Normal’ sleep guidelines 

0 – 2 months 

  • Average sleep duration: 14 – 15 hours 
    • Ranges from 9 – 20 hours (for 95% of population)
  • Nighttime sleep duration 8 – 9 hours 
  • Daytime naps 3 – 4

3 – 5 months

  • Average sleep duration: 13 – 13.5 hours 
    • Ranges from 9 – 18 hours (for 95% of population)
  • Nighttime sleep duration 8.5 – 10.5 hours 
  • Daytime naps 2 – 3

6 – 12 months

  • Average sleep duration: 12.5 – 13 hours 
    • Ranges from 9 – 17 hours (for 95% of population)
  • Nighttime sleep duration 9 – 11 hours 
  • Daytime naps ~2

12 – 24 months 

  • Average sleep duration: 12.5 – 13 hours 
    • Ranges from 10 – 15 hours (for 95% of population)
  • Daytime naps 1 – 2

Signs of tiredness

Feeding issues

Feeding and sleep issues tend to go hand in hand. Researchers found that over 600 babies who experienced feeding issues also had trouble falling asleep and slept for shorter times. Although we’re not sure which causes which, there is a significant correlation between the two variables. 

Trouble waking up 

The more sleep deprived we are, the more time we spend in deep sleep. When babies are in deep sleep they experience fewer disturbances and have a higher tolerance for external noise. 

Moodiness or crankiness

I’m sure you’ve experienced how a bad night of sleep can make you cranky. In babies, sleep disruptions can result in worsened emotional regulation, more impulsive behavior, and being less receptive to others’ emotions. On top of this, babies are more likely to perceive neutral stimuli as threats. 

More sensitive to pain

Chronic sleep restriction can lower pain thresholds. Studies done on young adults found that they experienced lower pain thresholds after restricting sleep for a week.  

Other signs to look out for:

  • Constant face-touching (hand to eyes/face, pulling ears) 
  • Shortened attention span, daydreaming
  • Disinterested in stimulating experiences
  • Yawning

Possible long term consequences 

  • Chronic sleep loss can lead to reduced self-regulation skills and increased risk of developing self-regulation problems 
  • Reduced emotional regulation can result in inability to develop relationships and social skills 
  • Study found that children who slept less had worse social skills and smaller vocabularies 
  • New research suggests chronic sleep loss can inhibit the growth of myelin (a substance that insulates neurons and promotes impulse transmissions)
  • Reduced ability to learn