6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule: Sample Schedule And Expert Tips
At six months old, your little one is growing and developing in leaps and bounds! To help them get the rest they need, you may be wondering what a six-month-old sleep schedule should look like. They’re certainly not sleeping around the clock like they did when they were a newborn.
In this article, we’ll offer an example of a six-month-old sleep schedule as well as general tips for sound baby sleep that will serve you well now and in the months to come. But first, let’s go over the basics of sleep at this age.
Babies need lots of sleep. You’ve experienced that first-hand over the past six months! By the time your little one is four months old, their circadian rhythm (the internal body clock that regulates sleeping and waking) is developing which means their sleep is more predictable.
At six months, your baby may experience a sleep regression, or they might sail on through with no problem. Regardless, exactly how many hours of sleep does a six-month-old need?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) suggests that babies between four months and one year old sleep for 12 to 16 hours a day, including naps. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has endorsed this recommendation, and it’s what we stick with, too.
For example, if your six-month-old baby naps a total of three hours during the day, at night they’ll need to sleep anywhere between nine and 13 hours. Knowing that information and what time your baby is up and at ‘em in the morning can help you calculate your little one’s bedtime.
To give you another example, if you know your baby needs to sleep 12 hours at night, and you wake them up at 7:00 a.m., they should be falling asleep by 7:00 p.m.
When it comes to naps during the day, your little one is right around the age when babies typically transition from three naps to two naps.
Between six or seven months and nine months is when they will start refusing their third nap. That’s your cue to switch to only two naps a day and put them to bed a bit earlier while they adjust.
Just keep in mind that every baby is different and part of creating your baby’s six-month-old sleep schedule includes getting to know your little one and their sleep needs.
The Importance Of Sleep
Why is sleep so very important? According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, regular sleep deprivation in kids goes further than just a cranky day. It can also cause behavioral and health problems, such as difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression.
On the flip side, getting enough sleep is good for the immune system, school performance, and mental health.
That’s reason enough to get in the habit of good sleep from the time your child is a baby.
Sample 6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule
All of that said, what might a typical six-month-old sleep schedule look like? Naps will probably last between one and two hours with the third nap being shorter, simply helping your little one last until bedtime.
Let’s take a look.
- Wake up: 6:30 a.m. or 7:00 a.m.
- First nap: 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m.
- Second nap: 12:30 p.m. or 1:00 p.m.
- Third nap: 3:00 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.
According to what we discussed earlier, keep in mind that your baby’s bedtime depends on how many hours they’ve slept during the day and how many hours of sleep they require. Just remember that there’s nothing wrong with an early bedtime if your little one needs it.
If you find that your baby’s naps are less than an hour, you can nap train. Nap training helps your baby learn to fall asleep on their own when they wake up after a short period of time.
Aim for nap times that last at least one hour. That means that you’ll keep your baby in their crib for an hour even if they’re not snoozing. If they wake up after a 15-minute catnap, use your favorite sleep training method until they fall asleep or until an hour has passed.
This applies to your baby’s first and second naps since the third nap is more of a cat nap anyway.
The Nap Pass
Sticking to a nap schedule similar to the example we listed above is important to help your baby get the sleep they need and rest well at night. But life is busy — especially if you have more than one child! Sometimes your baby will need to take a nap on the go, and that’s okay.
We recommend the Nap Pass concept. The Nap Pass means that you allow your six-month-old to nap while you’re out and about up to three times per week, but no more. This applies to little ones who are sleeping well at night and consistently taking naps that last at least an hour.
If that’s the case and your baby is capable of falling asleep on the go, use your Nap Pass as needed, just avoid using it on consecutive days and never use it more than once on the same day.
And remember to be flexible. If an on-the-go nap means your baby didn’t sleep for very long, bump up the start time of their next nap.
Tips For Sound Sleep
Just because you religiously stick to a six-month-old sleep schedule doesn’t mean that your baby will always drift off without a fuss or sleep soundly through their nap or the night.
To wrap up, we’ll provide a few tips for sound sleep that you can put into practice right away and will be useful for the months ahead, too.
Know Your Baby’s Sleep Cues
In an ideal situation, you’ll put your baby to bed when they’re sleepy rather than pushing them to stay awake and creating an overtired baby. After all, an overtired baby may actually have more trouble falling asleep once you put them in bed.
So, be on the lookout for the signs that your little one is ready to sleep. These sleep cues include rubbing their eyes, yawning, being less interactive, and staring off into space. Crying can also be a sign that your baby is tired, but it’s a late sleep cue.
Don’t wait until your baby cries to start the naptime or bedtime routine. That brings us to the next tip.
Create Bedtime And Naptime Routines
Little ones thrive on consistency. Naptime and bedtime routines can help their body realize that it’s time to rest. If you already have sleepy time routines, keep it up! If not, it’s not too late to get in the habit.
What should a naptime or bedtime routine consist of? Calming activities, such as taking a bath, singing a lullaby, a baby massage, rocking and reading a book, or a goodnight kiss.
Choose a set of activities that work for your family and do them in the same order each time you put your baby to bed. That said, your little one’s naptime routine will probably be less extensive than the bedtime routine.
Adjust The Temperature
Before putting your baby down for their nap or for bedtime, adjust the thermostat. While there’s not one temperature that’s ideal for a sleeping baby, a common recommendation is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Play it by feel. If it’s comfortable for a lightly clothed adult, it’s probably a good temperature. Keep in mind that babies should be dressed in no more than one layer more than what you would wear. And covering your sleeping baby with a blanket is a no-no.
Keep The Crib Safe
Make your baby’s crib a secure place for your little one. We just mentioned that your six-month-old baby shouldn’t sleep with a blanket.
Use Safe Sleep Practices
In addition to creating a safe sleeping space for your baby, use safe sleep practices when putting them to bed. This includes — but is not limited to — putting your baby to sleep on their back and offering a pacifier at bedtime.
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A 6-Month-Old Sleep Schedule For Sweet Dreams!
Sufficient sleep is essential for healthy development, wellness, and happy days! Follow the example of a six-month-old sleep schedule that we listed in this article, keeping in mind that every baby is a little different and parenthood requires lots of flexibility.
As you get into the swing of things with your baby’s sleep schedule, put into practice the sound sleep tips we mentioned.
With a schedule in place and safe sleep practices in mind, it’s “goodnight” and “sweet dreams” to your little one!