How Much Sleep Does Your Toddler Need?

sleeping toddler

It is imperative that toddlers get enough sleep because sleep directly impacts their mental and physical development. While we sleep, the blood supply to the muscles is increased, tissue growth and repair occur, hormones for growth and development are released, and energy is restored. 

Many toddlers only get about 10 hours of sleep a day, which falls short of the 12-14 hours they require.

Toddlers between 1 and 3 years old generally require 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour day, including nighttime sleep and naps. The average toddler sleeps between 9 and 12 hours at night, and makes up the remaining hours with naps. Most babies settle into a sleep routine that includes a morning and an afternoon nap. When a toddler is 16 to 18 months old, he will gradually drop his morning nap. During this transition, he may nap one morning but not the next, or fall asleep between his usual morning and afternoon nap times.

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Many toddlers get tired and cranky before their regular afternoon nap time as they begin to drop their morning nap. If your toddler is tired, shift her afternoon nap to an earlier time. Expect her afternoon nap to be longer – up to two hours or more. You may have to shift her bedtime to accommodate her new nap schedule.

While we sleep, the blood supply to the muscles is increased, tissue growth and repair occur, hormones for growth and development are released, and energy is restored.

If she finishes her nap later than usual, she won't be ready for bed at the regular time. Try to be flexible. Pushing back her bedtime instead of trying to force her to sleep when she's not tired will prevent power struggles and tantrums. If your toddler ends her afternoon nap earlier than usual, anticipate having to put her to bed earlier.

Don't wait until she shows obvious signs of sleepiness – it's easier to get her to sleep before she becomes overtired. Be prepared to also shift your toddler's meal schedule.

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How Much Sleep Does Your Toddler Need?

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28 comments

  1. Theresa says:

    My 20-month old is finally settling into a sleep routine. She started sleeping through the night at 18 months (around the time I weaned her from the breast). She wakes up around 9:30-10:30 every morning. Her nap can occur anywhere from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm and she’ll sleep about 2 hours. If she stays up past 6:30 and no nap has occurred, we try to keep her awake until at least 8:00 pm, because then she sleeps all night. If has had a nap, her usual bedtime is 1 am. She’s a night owl just like her daddy.

  2. Olga says:

    Help!!! I know they’ve been sick, but need to get my twins back into routine. How can i have them sleep 11-12 hours straight though the night…they nap twice a day, i have a good sleeper which will nap 1-1.5 hours each nap, and another one who does about 45min each nap. I’m going nuts with sleep, it’s been about a year or so since I’ve had a good night. any twin mommies that can help?

  3. Leah says:

    Our 18 month old has never been a big naper, I would get lucky for 2 20 min naps a day from about 6 months on, but the past month or so she has really settled into a nap routine, around the same time everyday and around the same length and it is getting easier to put her down, and she still, as always, sleeps about 11-12 hours straight at night

  4. Jennifer says:

    I have a 2 year old daughter that hasn’t slept all night since she was 3 months old. Since then she only sleeps maybe 4 to 6 hours out of 24 and that is counting her nap time. She’s my first child. Everyone I know that I’ve asked about it has no idea because they’ve never heard of it happening. Can someone please give me some advice if you can. Is it normal for 2 year olds to barely sleep??

  5. Theresa says:

    I have a 3 yr old and she never takes a nap anymore. But my 6month old sleeps whenever he can. He also sleeps through the night which I am so grateful for, since my husband got a new job and gets up at 4:30 in the morning. I am so lucky that my daughter is finally on a sleeping routine, she now knows that when it gets dark that it is bedtime. Which he in Florida is about 8pm.

  6. mommy nhoj says:

    I better watch out for any pattern changes as soon as she turns 1. She’s been a late sleeper lately

  7. damion says:

    Not much when she says that she is an owl…

  8. MAMASEXXY says:

    WHEN OTHER PEOPLE WATCH YOUR CHILDREN THE ROUTINE THING GETS A LITTLE HARDER. THEY MAY NOT BE ONE THE SAME PAGE AS YOU WITH BEDTIMES AND THIS IS WHERE YOU FIND YOURSELF FIGHTING TO GET THE CHILDREN BACK ON TRACK OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

  9. MAMASEXXY says:

    MY LITTLE GIRL AWAYS GOT NO LESS THEN 12 HOURS OF SLEEP.

  10. My 4 year old and 7 year old step-sons are like this too. You can see it in their eyes if they have not napped, their eyes get so purple and sick like. And moody attitudes. I tell them it is a privilege to get extra sleep and they need to enjoy it. 😉

  11. Bed time for my children is 8pm, my one year old daughter has decided 930pm is her time to sleep. Everyone gets up at 6am, she still gets up at 12am, 2am, 430am, and 6am. Her nap time, one that she has decided is 10am. She’ll sleep between 30 min to an hour and then is awake till after diner when she naps for 15 mins and we start all over again. Im exhausted and have tried to regulate her pattern, but she sleeps when she is tired and I dont like waking a sleeping baby.

  12. monica says:

    my daughter goes to bed at 9 30 and wont want to wake up till 10 30 in the morning and then wants her nap at 2 30 to 4 is that okay??

  13. lovingit says:

    you r so luckieeeeee. I only wish!!!!!! LOL

  14. lovingit says:

    It is do true, I known my baby needs the rest because sometimes he is so winney. He will sleep maybe 7 to 9 hrs a night and take a nap the next day for a hour or hour and a half.

  15. good to know my baby is not sleeping too much.

  16. chelsey says:

    my son sleeps 13-14 hours. he is 21 months old

  17. Courtney says:

    I wonder how easy this routine is to set up when your child is being watched by people other than yourself?

  18. sandra says:

    about two hr day

  19. JoDo says:

    yeah my son sleeps half the day away lol

  20. heidi says:

    ahhh, for the longest time,my son would wake during the nite and want a bottle,he wouldn’t even be fully awake! but the faster i got the bottle for him the faster he was back to sleep! it was so hard to break this habit….finally i let him not take such long naps during the day and i also kept him very active during the day…to ensure that he would sleep the whole night….took a few weeks but in the end it payed off….it was never about him being ”hungry” it was more of a comfort thing with him….now he also has a fav blankie that helps took the place of his bottle…thank goodness <3

  21. natalie says:

    my baby takes just morning naps but sleeps through the night with sometimes wakes of crying or whinning for a binky or bottle.

  22. Brenda says:

    my baby takes a nap during the day and sleep all the night!!!

  23. my 21month old used to sleep all night and a pretty long nap durin the day,now i find him starting to wake up every so often and i dont know wht to do , my older son once he had his pattern down , it never change.

  24. Seity says:

    I’ve decided kids don’t sleep. At least mine never has. Nearly 26 months and he still wakes twice a night. At least it’s not every 2 hours like the first year.

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