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Posted by Dr. Monica Wonnacott | January 26, 2016

All About Naps

While I love my child dearly, I also love his naptime. When my child naps, it gives me a chance to get things done without interruptions, have a minute of peace and quiet, and recharge personally. So when is this glorious time going to end? Here’s the basic breakdown of naps by age. Of course, every child’s sleep need is different, but this is a good guide.

Newborns: Most of a newborn’s sleep is like one cycle of napping. They sleep for intervals of 2-4 hours at a time.

6 Weeks to 5 Months: A regular sleep pattern starts to emerge. Most take 3 naps a day: morning, afternoon, and early evening/late afternoon nap.

6 Months to 18 Months: Most at this age are sleeping through the night and take 2 naps a day. The midmorning nap usually happens around 9 a.m. (or 1-2 hours after awakening) and lasts about an hour. The second nap, an early afternoon nap, is longer. It typically starts around 1 p.m. and lasts 1-3 hours.

18 months to 3 years: Most children this age take one afternoon nap a day. The nap may last anywhere from 1-3 ½ hours.

3 years to 4 years: Some at this age will still require an afternoon nap (especially if they aren’t getting enough sleep at night). Typically the naps get shorter and shorter as they phase out.

5+ years: Most children at this age do not need naps. If your child is regularly falling asleep during the day (e.g., car rides, watching movies, school), then he/she is probably not getting enough sleep at night. Try gradually moving bedtime earlier.