Newborn Sleep Patterns
By Dr Diji Vaughan
August 21, 2012
Category: Newborn

 

How long does a newborn sleep?

Most newborns sleep for about 16 - 20hrs total daily. Each sleep duration can last anywhere between 1hr to 4hr, often followed by a brief period of wakefulness which can last for 1 to 2hrs. The newborn infant sleep duration can vary widely depending on how hungry the baby is or how satisfied the baby is after the last meal.

The duration of sleep in daytime hours ends up being about equal to nighttime sleep duration as well on the average. Illnesses acquired during or after childbirth or medical problems in the newborn period can affect the formation of this cycle.

What happens beyond the immediate newborn period?

After the neonatal period (first 28-days of life) elapses, a total sleep duration of about 14 to15 hrs in a day becomes more typical and this decreases to about 13 to 14hrs around age 6 months. Around age 4- 6 months some infants sleep for periods of 6 to 8hrs each time.

When will my newborn sleep through the night?

Most newborns grant mommy and daddy a peaceful night rest around the 9th month of life and sleep through the night. Experts estimate 70% to 80% of infants do this successfully by this age. The ability for the infant to distinguish between day and night develops between the second and third month of life, and gradually contributes to increasing duration of nocturnal sleep time by age 9 months to sleeping through the night.

How about naps?

Most newborn infants nap between 2 and 4 hours total daily, this can be divided on the average into 2 nap sessions by the infant.

Sleep rhythms and cycles in newborns are not defined with mathematical certainty by any stretch and this is not an attempt to simplify a process that’s complex, yet restorative and necessary for health into numbers and rigid time frames. There’s room for overlap with these ranges and these have to be discussed with your physician if concerns exist.  The time frames above provide a guide to what’s expected in the vast majority of situations. Newborn temperament, issues of attachment and social interaction play a key role in the evolution of sleep habits in infants.

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