MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, CBS
Rachel holds a Master’s in Nutrition Communication from Tufts University and is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She works as a nutrition and wellness coach with focuses on infant and maternal nutrition, and mindful eating.
A healthy sleep pattern is essential for optimal growth and development in toddler-hood (ages 1-3) because this unique stage marks the notable time between infancy and preschool age children. Your toddler’s sleep needs may vary from 11-14 hours in a 24 hour period. When broken down to nighttime sleep and daytime sleep, the majority of toddlers need 10 ½-12 hours of sleep a night plus 90-120 minutes of daytime sleep or napping.
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Here is an example of a typical 18-month-old toddler sleep schedule:
7:00 am Wake
12:30-2:30 pm Daytime nap
8:00 pm Fall asleep
Total sleep in 24 hours = 13
Your toddler should fall asleep quickly, sleep well at night, and nap appropriately for his age. If he does all of these things and functions well during the daytime, then he is probably getting enough sleep.
Keep a sleep log for your toddler
If you are not sure whether your toddler is getting the right amount of sleep or following a typical pattern for a child his age, keep a log of his sleep. Things to note in the log include: the time your child actually falls asleep, the time your child wakes up in the morning, and the number and length of each daytime nap.
Watch for signs that your toddler might be ready to shift from 2 naps per day, to just 1 midday nap
Signs that your child is ready to transition from 2 naps to 1 may include:
It can take several days to even weeks before your toddler’s body adjusts to the new 1 midday nap schedule. He shouldn’t lose a large amount of sleep in the overall schedule, but his daytime sleep will shift to one consolidated longer stretch. Once transitioned, your child’s 1 nap should be at about the midpoint of his day with equal hours of wakefulness in the morning from the time he wakes and in the afternoon from the time he wakes from his nap to bedtime.
How Much Sleep Do Children Need? WebMD. Date accessed 6 August 2018. Ferber, Richard “Solve Your child’s Sleep Problems”, 2006.