Toddlers' sleep: A complete guide from 12 months further


Being a parent is an exciting adventure, full of joy and new discoveries. But along with the fun, there are often a lot of questions that need answers. One of the most common ones is, "How much sleep does my toddler need, especially after they hit the 12-month mark?" If this sounds familiar, you're in the right place.

Sleep is incredibly important for your toddler's growth and development, but figuring out exactly how much they need can be tricky. This article is here to make things easier for you. It's a complete guide, crafted with care, to help you understand all about your toddler's sleep needs.

Decoding toddler sleep needs

Before we delve into specifics, you might be asking yourself why sleep is of such paramount importance for your toddler. To put it simply, sleep serves as the essential downtime during which your toddler's body and mind recuperate and gear up for the new experiences and learning adventures of the forthcoming day. But just how much of this restorative downtime do they really need? Let's embark on this journey of discovery together!

How much sleep does your toddler need?

As a general guideline, toddlers in the age group of 1-2 years require approximately 11-14 hours of sleep every day. This total sleep time constitutes a combination of nighttime sleep and daytime naps. As your child grows older, their total sleep time might decrease slightly, and by the time they reach the age of 5, they might only require around 10-13 hours of sleep.

Length of child's sleep

What needs to be taken into account when it comes to the length of a child's sleep?

  • Age plays a significant role in determining your toddler's sleep needs, but it's not the sole deciding factor. There's an intricate web of other elements that weave into this equation.

  • Activity during the day is one of the other key factors. Just like us adults, the more physically active your child has been throughout the day, the more sleep they might require to restore their energy levels.

  • New stimuli is an often overlooked element that affects the length of a child's sleep. Toddlers are like little sponges, soaking up information from their environment and constantly learning new things. Whether it's starting daycare, mastering a new skill, or even a visit to the zoo, these fresh experiences can both exhilarate and exhaust them. This cognitive fatigue, caused by the processing of new stimuli, can often lead to an increased need for sleep.

So, while age is a valuable guiding post in understanding your toddler's sleep needs, it's essential to consider their daily activity and exposure to new stimuli as well.

The vital role of daytime naps

Daytime naps might not be in the limelight when it comes to a toddler's sleep schedule, but they are certainly not understudies. They play a pivotal role, helping to recharge your toddler's batteries and offering a much-needed pause amidst their bustling day of discovery.

Toddlers aged between 12-18 months typically require one to two naps per day, each nap lasting from one to three hours. By the time they reach 3-4 years of age, most toddlers have usually phased out their daytime naps. However, it's not just about the numbers. The quality of these naps, their timing, and consistency also have a profound impact on your toddler's overall sleep health.

As the day progresses, new experiences, activities, and learning opportunities can tire out your little explorer. A well-timed nap can provide the perfect refueling station, rejuvenating your toddler for their next adventure. Conversely, inconsistent nap times can throw off their internal sleep clock, leading to difficulties in settling down for their nighttime sleep. So, while navigating through the terrain of toddler sleep, it's vital to not overlook the powerful role that daytime naps play.

Mastering a bedtime

Formulating and implementing a calming bedtime routine can be the secret ingredient that ensures your toddler enjoys a good night's sleep. To find out more about bedtime routine, read our article about Bedtime rituals for kids depending on their age. What is important for mastering a bedtime?


  • Picking the right bedtime
    Discovering the ideal bedtime for your toddler can feel like you're trying to juggle multiple balls at once. However, most experts agree that a bedtime between 7 to 8 PM usually works best for most toddlers. This ensures they attain the required amount of sleep and wake up refreshed and raring to go!

  • Crafting bedtime routine and rituals
    Bedtime rituals act as gentle signals to your toddler, indicating that it's time to slow down and prepare for sleep. These rituals can vary from family to family and could include activities like brushing teeth, reading a bedtime story, or even a gentle massage. It's crucial to ensure these rituals are consistent and calming.

Identifying sleep issues

Despite your best efforts, there might be times when your toddler experiences sleep disruptions. Recognizing these problems early can help you address them effectively.

  • Nightmares and night terrors
    Nightmares and night terrors can be rather distressing for your toddler and may lead to disruptions in their sleep. It's crucial to comfort your toddler during these times and reassure them of their safety.

  • Sleep Regression
    Sleep regression is a situation wherein a toddler who was previously sleeping well suddenly starts waking up at night or skipping naps. It's often a temporary phase and could be triggered by growth spurts, illness, or changes in their routine.

The first sleep regression is usually 4 month sleep regression, when baby begins to deeply perceive the world around. The second is 8 month sleep regression when the baby learns to crawl. The last major on is 18 month sleep regression, when the baby learns to talk and run.

If your child is showing signs of sleep disturbance, don't panic and try to act calmly so that your child can calm down too. Disturbances caused by nightmares or sleep regression may seem worrying, but these are usually only temporary phases related to their growth and development.

Frequently asked questions

1. How much sleep does a 2-year-old need?

A 2-year-old toddler typically requires about 11-14 hours of sleep every day, including daytime naps.

2. What is the ideal bedtime for a toddler?

A bedtime falling between 7 to 8 PM usually proves to be optimal for most toddlers.

3. How can I enhance my toddler's sleep quality?

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine and providing a comfortable sleep environment can significantly improve your toddler's sleep quality.

4. What triggers sleep regression in toddlers?

Sleep regression in toddlers can be triggered by various factors such as growth spurts, illness, or changes in their daily routine.

5. How should I deal with my toddler's nightmares?

Providing comfort and reassurance of their safety can help your toddler cope with nightmares.

6. How many naps should my toddler be taking?

Typically, toddlers aged between 12-18 months need one to two naps per day.


The parenting voyage isn't always smooth sailing, and understanding your toddler's sleep needs can sometimes feel akin to solving a perplexing puzzle. However, with a generous dose of patience, a sprinkling of consistency, and a dash of understanding, you can certainly ensure your toddler gets the restorative sleep they require. Always remember, each child is unique, and so are their sleep needs. Hence, the guide 'How Much Sleep Does Your Toddler Need: A Complete Guide From 12 months Further' is a general framework and might not precisely apply to every toddler. Here's to joyful and fulfilling parenting!

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