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A Complete Guide About Newborn Sleep Patterns

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Update: May 12, 2023
4 min read

Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
Newborn Sleep Patterns

As a new parent, you must be going through a myriad of happy emotions, but exhaustion also can be one of them. Understanding newborn sleep patterns can help you out here. While it may seem like your little munchkin sleeps a lot, almost 17 hours a day, they tend to awaken frequently. Unlike us, they haven’t mastered the art of sleeping for hours at a stretch, and their sleep cycle tends to shift constantly. Don’t worry. We are here to tell you everything you must know about a newborn sleep schedule, so you know what to expect.

Newborn Sleep: How Much and When

Babies need plenty of sleep to grow and develop. Newborn sleep can be between 14 to 17 hours every day. They sleep around 8 to 9 hours during the day and about 8 hours at night. But the newborn sleep cycle can vary. It is possible for some babies to only sleep for 11 hours in a day while some go up to 19 hours. In fact, newborn sleep patterns by week may also differ.

Usually, newborn babies wake up every 3 hours for a feed as they have tiny stomachs, and soon after their meal, they may go back to sleep again. 

If your little one sleeps for long periods, it is essential to wake them up every 3-4 hours for a feed. Infants sleep during the night and day because their body hasn’t adjusted to the day-night sleep cycle, unlike us. That’s how newborn babies’ sleep patterns work.

What Are the Sleep Patterns of a Newborn?

Wondering What are newborns’ sleep patterns? Take a quick look at the baby’s sleeping patterns. This will give you an idea of what to expect. 

Baby’s AgeNumber of NapsDuration of NapsDaytime Sleep HoursNight-time Sleep HoursNight-time Hours at a StretchTotal Sleep Hours in a Day
Birth to 6 weeks It can vary  30 mins to 4 hoursIt can vary It can vary Maybe 4 hours  14 to 17 hours
2 months 3-530 mins to 3 hours7 to 9 hours 8 to 9 hours Maybe 6 hours 14 to 17 hours 
3 months 3-41-2 hours4 to 8 hours 8 to 10 hoursAt times, 6 hours 14 to 16 hours 
4 months2-31-2 hours3 to 6 hours 9 to 10 hours At times, 6 to 8 hours 12 to 16 hours
5-6 months2-31-2 hours3 to 4 hours10 to 11 hoursAt times, 10 to 11 hours 12 to 16 hours
7-8 months21-2 hours3 to 4 hours10 to 12 hours Maybe10 to 12 hours 12 to 16 hours
9 months21-2 hours3 to 4 hours10 to 12 hours10 to 12 hours often12 to 16 hours
10-12 months21-2 hours3 to 4 hours10 to 12 hours10 to 12 hours usually12 to 16 hours

What are the different alert phases of a Newborn?

Like adults, babies also have sleep stages. So, depending on the sleep stage, your little one may lie very still or move around. They are-

REM or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

The REM sleep stage is when the baby enjoys light sleep, and here, you may notice the rapid movement of the eye. It is the stage where dreams tend to occur. While babies may enjoy sleep for almost 16 hours, they spend half the time in the REM stage.

Non-REM Sleep 

Non-REM Sleep in babies has four stages.

  • Stage 1 – Drowsiness: Their eyes droop, they may open and close their eyes, and babies tend to doze in this stage. 
  • Stage 2 – Light sleep: Here, your baby may move in its sleep, and sounds may startle them. 
  • Stage 3 – Deep sleep: Here, your little one enjoys deep sleep, and they may not move.
  • Stage 4 – Very deep sleep: In this stage, your newborn may lie still and be quiet.

Helping your baby sleep

Babies are not equipped to fall asleep or wake up on their own, mainly when it comes to falling asleep. Therefore, you can help your baby fall asleep when they display the signs of sleep readiness.  Also, ensure the environment feels comfortable and safe to ensure your little one falls asleep without any hindrance. 

What are the signs of sleep readiness?

When your baby feels sleepy, they may show you the below-mentioned signs indicating sleep readiness. 

  • Rubbing eyes
  • Yawning 
  • Looking away 
  • Fussing 

How can you help your baby fall asleep?

As aforementioned, your little one may not know how to put themselves to sleep. So, having a bedtime routine is a great idea. Before bed, you can gently rock your baby or breastfeed them. But make sure you don’t let your baby sleep while feeding, as this creates a habit, and your baby will always expect to be in your arms before falling asleep. Once your newborn becomes sleepy, you can slowly place them in the crib as it helps them learn to sleep on their own. This is how to help your baby sleep.


Remember, in the first few months, your little one may wake up several times at night for feeds. Between the first and third months, they may even start sleeping for more extended periods. Once you understand their sleep schedule, it will also help you plan your day better. 


What is a normal sleeping pattern for a newborn?

While the sleep patterns of a newborn can differ, they usually sleep 12 to 17 hours in 24 hours. If you want to know about newborn sleep patterns by month, look at the table in the above article.

What is a typical night with a newborn?

Generally, baby sleep patterns are that they sleep for short bursts of 2-3 hours. So, you must learn to fit your sleep when they fall asleep.

How long after feeding can I put my baby down to sleep?

You can keep your baby up for about 30 minutes after a feed to reduce discomfort and prevent spitting up.

When can you let a newborn sleep as long as they want?

Once your baby shows good weight gain, which happens in about 2-3 weeks, you can let them sleep for longer durations without waking them up for a feed. 


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Written by

Arun Das
Content Writer
With a Master's Degree in Mass Communication and nearly two decades of professional expertise in crafting healthcare articles, he possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field.

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