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How Much Sleep Do Newborns Need?

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Updated March 21, 2013

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Question: How Much Sleep Do Newborns Need?
If you are a proud new parent, you are likely a little sleep-deprived yourself and you may be wondering: How much sleep do newborns need?
Answer:

Newborns actually sleep quite a bit, but the problem (at least for parents) is that they have not developed a circadian rhythm, and their sleep is very fragmented. As a result, their sleep periods are brief and these are scattered throughout the day and night.

The sleep periods of newborns typically last from 2 to 5 hours. Between these sleep periods may be a period of wakefulness that lasts from 1 to 3 hours. During a 24-hour period, a newborn may sleep from 10 to 18 hours, with the average being close to 15 hours. Their sleep is often disrupted by a desire for feeding.

Fortunately, by the age of 8 to 12 weeks, these rather short sleep periods become more consolidated and more of a newborn's sleep begins to occur at nighttime. The sleep of children continues to evolve throughout their development until it approaches that which exists in adults, usually by late adolescence.

Source:

Durmer, JS et al. "Pediatric Sleep Medicine". Continuum. Neurol 2007; 13(3):153-200.

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