BABY CARE

What Time for Bed; How Many Naps

18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

With the proper 18 month old sleep schedule, your toddler should sleep 10-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours during the day. Most toddlers this age are taking one nap, sleeping through the night, and are night-weaned completely. This article will share everything you need to know about your 18 month old’s sleep schedule to help them sleep longer and be happier!

In this article:

How Much Sleep 18 Month Olds Need

Most 18 month old toddlers need 13-14 hours of sleep per day including 10-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours during the day. At this age, toddlers are sleeping through the night and taking a single 2-3-hour nap.

Of course, some toddlers will need more or less than the average amount of sleep. So, if your toddler is sleeping more or less than the average in a 24-hour period, if they’re happy, it’s probably fine. The best way to know if your toddler is getting enough sleep is to observe their mood, their behavior, and look for other signs of over-tiredness. Although toddler tantrums are normal, overtired toddlers tend to have more of them.

18 Month Old Sleep Schedule Wake Windows and Awake Time

Wake windows for 18 month olds are usually 5 to 5.5 hours both before and after their nap. If your toddler is happily sleeping with a 5-hour awake time, there is no need to increase it. However, if your toddler takes a nap longer than two hours or is prone to sleeping 11 hours at night, it could be best to try to get to 5.5-hour wake windows.

How Many Naps Should a 18 Month Old Take?

Almost all 18 month olds take one nap per day. Most toddlers transition to one nap around 15 to 18 months old. If you are concerned your 18 month old is not ready for one nap, be sure to review the signs it’s time to drop to one nap. And, if you haven’t done so already, here is how to transition to one nap.

If your 18 month old toddler is napping for 2 to 3 hours each day and sleeping through the night, you should NOT wake them from their nap. However, there are a few situations that you may want to wake up your toddler from napping too long:

  • If your toddler is waking up too early the next day (e.g. 4 or 5 a.m.), napping for over 2 hours, and sleeping less than 10 hours at night: Yes, you may want to wake them up from their long nap. However, if your toddler is NOT getting enough sleep with their schedule, there could be another reason they are waking up too early (see below.) On the other hand, if your toddler is sleeping for 10 or more hours at night and waking up too early, you might simply want to shift their schedule forward, instead.
  • If your toddler is awake in the middle of the night for an hour or longer: We call this “baby insomnia” or a split night. If your toddler is taking just one nap, it might mean they are napping too long during the day. Therefore, you might want to wake them from a long nap. However, consider whether they need a different schedule instead. Toddlers who go to bed at 6:00 or 6:30 PM in this age group can often have a split night due to bedtime being too early!

This is a perfect transition to our next section discussing what time an 18 month old should go to bed!

What Time Should a 18 Month Old Go to Bed?

The best bedtime for an 18 month old is usually between 7:00 and 8:00 PM. Each family has a different lifestyle, but in my 15+ years of experience as a sleep consultant, if your toddler’s bedtime is before 7:00 PM, this can cause problems at night. A “false start” is when your toddler wakes up soon after bedtime as if it was a “nap” and it’s commonly caused by a bedtime that is too early even with the “right” wake window.

On the other hand, if bedtime is past 8:00 PM, unless they are napping later in the day and waking up later in the morning, your toddler is likely overtired and that can cause other sleep problems. There is no “right” or “wrong” bedtime but it can make a huge difference in your toddler’s schedule!

If bedtime is earlier or later than the typical range, and sleep is good in your household, there is no need to change it.

Sample 18 Month Old Sleep Schedules

Putting your 18 month old on the right sleep schedule will often mean a toddler sleeping through the night and napping longer during the day. Use these sample schedules to help you find the right one for your unique situation.

Sample 1-Nap Sleep Schedule

In my 15+ years of experience as a sleep consultant, most 18 month olds are on a 1-nap schedule by now. There are very few who are still taking two naps or, if they are, they are having other sleep problems such as night-waking or early-waking.

If your toddler has a 5-hour wake window, their schedule will be very similar, if not identical, to our 16 month old sleep schedule or 17 month old sleep schedule. Therefore, this sample schedule will be for toddlers who are lengthening their wake windows.

Here is a sample sleep schedule with a 5-hour wake window in the morning and a 5.5-hour wake window in the evening:

Time Wake Window Activity Sleep Length
7:00 AM Wake*
12:00 PM 5 Hours Nap 2 to 2.5 hours
8:00 PM 5.5 Hours Bedtime
(Asleep by this time)
11-12 hours

* Should You Wake Your Toddler Up In the Morning? We don’t usually have to wake up 18 month olds in the morning but it can help if you want time to yourself in the evening. Waking up your toddler within the same 30-minute window in the morning (e.g. 7:00 to 7:30 AM) can keep your schedule more consistent.

Sample 1-Nap Sleep Schedule With Meals

Again, many clients want to know how to fit meals in to set up their toddler for success in sleeping through the night and taking long naps. Here’s a typical 1-nap schedule with a 5 to 5.5-hour wake windows and meals:

Time Wake Window Activity Sleep Length
7:00 AM Wake*
7:30 AM Breakfast + Milk
9:30 AM Snack + Milk
11:30 AM Lunch + Milk
12:00 PM 5 Hours Nap 2 to 2.5 hours
3:30 PM Big Snack + Milk
(Second Lunch)
5:30 PM Small Snack
(if necessary)
6:30 PM Dinner + Milk
8:00 PM 5.5 Hours Bedtime
(Asleep by this time)
11 to 12 hours

* Should You Wake Your Toddler Up In the Morning? We don’t usually have to wake up 18 month olds in the morning but it can help if you want time to yourself in the evening. Waking up your toddler within the same 30-minute window in the morning (e.g. 7:00 to 7:30 AM) can keep your schedule more consistent.

Download the sample schedule below by clicking on it and then right-clicking:

18 Month Old Sleep Schedule With Meals

Sample Toddler Schedules By Month For All Ages

Did you know we have sample toddler schedules by month for all ages? Check it out!

Why Some 18 Month Olds Wake Up Too Early

Most 18 month olds wake up between 6:00 and 7:30 AM. If your toddler is waking up “too early” (whatever that means to you), here are the most common reasons:

  • Overtiredness at Bedtime – The #1 reason for a toddler waking up too early in the morning is due to being overtired at bedtime. If this is a possibility, simply shorten the wake window right before bedtime.
  • Hunger – Offering dinner too early (e.g. 4:30 or 5:00 PM), is a common reason for waking up too early, too. Ideally, dinner will be no earlier than 6:00 PM, if possible, but yours might need to be later. While some toddlers can go 13 hours without eating, some toddlers simply can’t.
  • Sunrise – We are meant to rise with the sun and go to sleep with the sunset. Unnatural light has made all of our bedtimes later than natural. Children who are sensitive to light could wake up too early when the sun starts to shine through their windows. Consider room-darkening shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Schedule Change – If you are still giving your 18 month old two naps, it’s time to drop one.

Although there are a few other reasons your toddler could be waking up too early, these are the most common culprits.

Why Some 18 Month Olds Wake Up at Night and Can You Do Sleep Training?

The #1 reason for 18 month olds waking up at night is due to the 18 month sleep regression! During this time, separation anxiety peaks, and many toddlers will start to fight naps and bedtime. Schedules can get off-course and tantrums can increase. In addition, many 18 month olds start waking up at night again from hunger. Yes, hunger! However, that does NOT mean you should feed them at night. It means something is wrong with your schedule and that’s why I include sample schedules with meals above.

There are other reasons that could be causing your toddler to wake up at night. While you can do sleep training, that does NOT fix every cause. Be sure to solve the right problem and check out our article Top 15 Reasons Your Baby Is Waking at Night.

18 Month Old Sleep Schedule FAQ

How Long Should a 18 Month Old Nap?

An 18 month old should nap for 2 to 3 hours total every day.

How Many Naps Should an 18 Month Old Take?

18 month olds take one nap a day.

How Much Daytime Sleep for 18 Month Olds?

18 month olds sleep for 2 to 3 hours during the day.

How Long Can a 18 Month Old Stay Awake?

Wake windows for 18 month olds are usually 5 to 5.5 hours. Many toddlers will have a longer wake window before bedtime than before their nap.

What Time Should a 17 Month Old Go to Bed?

The best bedtime for an 18 month old is usually between 7:00 to 8:00 PM. A bedtime that is too early can cause false starts, waking up at night, and waking up too early the next day. A bedtime that is too late can cause night-waking and early-waking problems.

Why Does My 18 Month Old Wake Up Crying Every Night?

The most likely reason your 18 month old is waking up crying every night is a sleep regression, hunger, or that bedtime is too late. The easiest thing to try first is to move bedtime earlier by 20-30 minutes to see if it improves. If that doesn’t help, nighttime hunger sometimes creeps back into the picture at this age. Make sure your toddler is eating three solid meals, 2-3 snacks, and drinking at least 16-20 oz of milk with at least 8 grams of protein in it.

Should 18 Month Olds Transition to a Toddler Bed?

Some parents will move their 18 month old to a toddler bed or Montessori bed. However, the average age to transition from crib to toddler bed is 3 to 4 years old. Moving to a bed too early can have disastrous results depending on the situation! Be sure to read When and How to Transition from Crib to Toddler Bed.

Is a Sleep Regression Normal at 18 Months?

Yes! The 18 month old sleep regression is a very common trouble spot that lasts 3 to 6 weeks, on average.

Why Is My 18 Month Old Waking Up at Night and Can I Do Sleep Training?

The #1 reason for 18 month olds waking up at night is due to the 18 month sleep regression! During this time, separation anxiety peaks, and many toddlers will start to fight naps and bedtime. Schedules can get off-course and tantrums can increase. In addition, many 18 month olds start waking up at night again from hunger. Yes, hunger! However, that does NOT mean you should feed them at night. It means something is wrong with your schedule and that’s why I include sample schedules with meals above.

There are other reasons that could be causing your toddler to wake up at night. While you can do sleep training, that does NOT fix every cause. Be sure to solve the right problem and check out our article Top 15 Reasons Your Baby Is Waking at Night.

How Much Milk Should a 18 Month Old Drink?

Toddlers should drink 16-20 oz of milk per day until they are 5 years old according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although cow’s milk is the most common, there are many options nowadays. The type of milk you offer should have a minimum of 8 grams of protein per serving. So, be careful about milk substitutes and the amount of sugar.

Is It Safe to Give a 18 Month Old Melatonin?

Generally, you should NOT need to give your child under 3 years old melatonin. Instead, please simply put them on the right schedule! If you aren’t sure what the problem is, be sure to reach out to get help.

Is 18 Months Too Early to Stop Napping?

Yes, most 18 month olds still need to take a nap and it IS too early to stop napping. There isn’t a set age for children to stop napping, however, most toddlers need to take at least one nap until 3 to 4 years old, on average.

Originally Posted Here

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