How Much Sleep is Needed?

Kids sleep needs changes by stage of life. Dr. Greene outlines how much sleep is needed by age group from birth to adulthood.

I’m asked almost everyday by some concerned parent whether their child is sleeping enough or too much. That’s not a simple answer and sleep needs vary from child to child and even from day to day.

For instance, if a child has just learned to walk she will often get more sleep because she’s getting a lot more physical activity than she did just before she began walking. When a child first learns to walk, she toddles from place to place trying out her new skills with a new burst of energy. (Note: don’t put your video camera away after she’s taken those monumental first steps! There are some never-to-be-repeated times right around the corner.)

Once she’s mastered walking, her sleep needs may decrease again. Of course when a child is ill or even fighting off an infection, he might need more sleep. And if a child (or adult) is looking forward to an exciting day ahead, the excitement and anticipation may naturally result in less sleep the night before.

But back to the question, how much sleep does my baby need? I have general guidelines for the range of normal amount of sleep needed for each age:

Average Number of Hours of Sleep Needed

Per Day
16 to 18 hours
First 6 months
14 to 16 hours
6 to 12 months
13 to 14 hours
12 months to 2 years
12 to 13 hours
2 to 6 years
10 to 13 hours
6 to 12 year
9 to 11 hours
12 to 18 years about
10 hours
Adults about
8 hours
















Keep in mind, the above table is a general guideline, only. Your child may fall outside these averages and be completely normal.  On the other hand, sleep is vitally important and it’s worth paying attention to the sleep needs of everyone in the family.

Published on: July 24, 2007
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

My son is 6 months and has been a terrible sleeper since birth. He gets about 8 to 10 hours. It used to be even less. His pediatrician hasn’t been concerned but i definitely am as well as sleep deprived. Why is my son not sleeping no matter what we try?

I have four children. I feel as though if you try more tummy time and play on the floor almost little exercise time for babies in the evening before bedtime routine it helps burn off any extra energy. And this will help baby sleep more. Try and see. Good luck

Hi Cassie,
Thanks for writing in! Could you possibly sleep when your son does, then at least that will help with your sleep deprivation? Like the oxygen mask on the plane, taking care of your own needs might help you be less anxious about your baby. Just a thought! Sleep deprivation is really hard.
Hope that helps!
Alexandra (caring helper at, not a doctor)