Dr. Ilin Kinimi

Consultant - Paediatric Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine

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Reviewed by

Dr. Ilin Kinimi

Consultant - Paediatric Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine

Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road

Sleep - Why Is Your Baby Not Sleeping Well?

Reviewed by:

Dr. Ilin Kinimi

Posted On: Apr 22, 2024

blogs read 5 Min Read

Sleep - Why Is Your Baby Not Sleeping Well?

Children go through many phases, and one very important thing is making sure they get enough sleep.  But how much sleep do they really need? It changes as they grow, just like their phases. If you're wondering if your child is getting enough sleep or want to understand their sleep needs better, keep reading to know more!


The Importance of Sleep in Children

Adequate sleep helps babies and toddlers grow and develop properly. While they sleep, their bodies produce hormones that help them develop, and their brains process and retain what they learn while awake. Beyond enhancing behaviour and mood, sufficient sleep also reduces fussiness in children. Furthermore, it decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic problems, and obesity among kids.

Why Is Your Baby Not Sleeping Well?

Here are some common factors that could affect your baby's sleep:

  • Disrupted Sleep Patterns: Babies, like adults, thrive on routines. Disruptions to their sleep schedule, such as irregular bedtimes or frequent waking during the night, can lead to difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine and ensuring a calming environment can help regulate their sleep patterns.

  • Teething Discomfort: Teething can be a painful experience for babies, often causing discomfort that disturbs their sleep. Common symptoms include irritability, drooling, and swollen gums. Providing gentle remedies like teething toys, chilled teethers, or pain-relieving medications recommended by a pediatrician can help alleviate discomfort and promote better sleep.

  • Growth Spurts: During growth spurts, babies may experience increased hunger and discomfort, which can disrupt their sleep patterns. They may wake more frequently for feedings or comfort. Ensuring they receive adequate nutrition during the day and offering extra feeds during growth spurts can help manage their nighttime wakefulness.

  • Environmental Factors: Factors such as light, noise, or temperature changes in the sleeping environment can impact a baby's ability to sleep soundly. Creating a dark, quiet, and comfortably cool sleep environment can promote better sleep quality. Using blackout curtains, white noise machines, and appropriate clothing or bedding can help mitigate environmental disturbances.

  • Separation Anxiety: As babies grow, they may develop separation anxiety, especially around bedtime. Fear of being separated from caregivers or unfamiliar surroundings can lead to resistance in falling asleep or frequent waking during the night. Establishing a soothing bedtime routine and offering comfort through gentle reassurance can help alleviate separation anxiety and promote a sense of security for better sleep.

Consult a paediatric hospital in Bangalore if you need treatment for a newborn not sleeping. 

How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?

Babies need a lot of sleep, and how much they require varies depending on how old they are.

Newborns - 0 to 3 months

During the initial months of life, newborns adhere to a straightforward routine: they sleep, wake up, feed, showcase their adorable qualities, and then start the cycle anew, often without regard for the time of day. At this early stage, a baby's brain cannot distinguish between daytime and nighttime cues as adults do. Typically, infants of this age sleep anywhere from 11 to 17 hours per day. However, due to the variability in their sleep patterns and the absence of a consistent schedule, there isn't a strict guideline regarding the duration of their sleep.

Babies- 4 to 12 months

As your baby learns about day and night, they'll start having a routine for sleep, and you can help by keeping their schedule consistent. It's a good idea to count how much your baby sleeps during the day and at night to make sure they're getting enough rest. Typically, babies at this age sleep about six to eight hours at night.

Toddlers -12 to 24 months

As your little one becomes more active and chatty, their sleep patterns will shift again. Toddlers usually start needing fewer naps or shorter ones, often just one nap a day, and they'll sleep longer at night. At this stage, many kids thrive on having a routine. Setting clear but gentle rules, sticking to regular bedtime routines, and giving them lots of encouragement for good sleep habits will make sure they get the rest they need.

Preschoolers- 3 to 5 years

Around this age, your child will probably begin to outgrow their afternoon nap. This transition usually happens gradually for most families. Between about 3 and 5 years old, and sometimes even a bit earlier, kids need less daytime sleep, so they'll start getting more rest at night. Naps might become less frequent during this time. 

For children aged 6 to 12

Learning becomes your child's primary responsibility once they start school. It becomes crucial to make sure kids receive adequate sleep to support their ability to remain attentive and engaged in class. They may find it difficult to focus in class if they fail to get adequate rest. 

Consult our paediatric pulmonologist in Bangalore if you need to learn more about newborn sleep patterns

Guidelines for Helping Children Develop Healthy Sleep Habits

A regular bedtime routine and a sleep-friendly environment are cornerstones in promoting healthy sleep in kids. 

  • Stick to a normal nighttime routine. This helps establish a consistent schedule.

  • Create a calming bedtime routine, such as reading a book, to signal to your kid that it's time to rest.

  • Set a safe and comfy baby sleep environment.

  • Limit screen time before bed, as the blue light from screens can interfere with sleep.

  • Provide emotional support and reassurance if children express fears or anxieties that may disrupt their sleep.

  • Consult a healthcare professional if persistent sleep issues arise.


You should call a paediatric pulmonology and sleep medicine specialist if your infant wakes up often throughout the night or screams during naps.

Quality sleep helps children in their development and general well-being. A healthy sleep supports in:

  • Attention

  • Behaviour

  • Learning

  • Memory

  • Emotional regulation

It varies depending on their age:

  • Infants normally need between 12 and 16 hours of sleep every day.

  • Toddlers require 11–14 hours of sleep every day.

  • Preschoolers require between 10 and 13 hours of sleep per day.

  • The average sleep schedule for children in school is 9 to 12 hours each night.

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