When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night

Laura FosterEducational Material

When could parents expect their baby to sleep through the night? In the following article we will review 2 separate studies that sheds light on this topic.

Study from 2010

The first study was carried out by the Department of Psychology in the University of Canterbury. Parents of 75 typically developing infants took part in this research.

Goal of the study

A group of scientists investigated how infants’ sleep consolidated during the first year to see when they first slept through the night. They defined 3 criteria for sleeping through the night:

  • criterion 1 – sleeping from midnight to 5am
  • criterion 2 – sleeping 8 consecutive hours during the night
  • criterion 3 – sleeping from 10pm to 6am

Results from the study

  • When the child is 3 month old, there is 50% probability of meeting criterion 1 and 2
  • At 5 months there is 50% probability of meeting criterion 3
  • At 12 months –  about 15% of the children (11 infants) did not meet criterion 1 or 2
  • At 12 months  – 28% of the children (21 infants) failed to meet criterion 3

Recent study from 2020

A more recent study was carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the University of Turku where 4841 children participated in the research.

Goal of the study

The study’s primary goal was to look into how babies’ sleep develops over the first two years of their lives.

Results from the study

Infants’ sleep patterns alter dramatically during their first two years. The results from the research shows that sleep issues are quite common in infants and typically resolve by the time the child reaches the age of two.

  • By the age of 6 months, the time it takes to fall asleep has decreased to an average of 20 minutes
  • By the age of 2 years, little children only wake up once during the night

Though, there are significant individual differences in the sleep quality of newborns and toddlers. Many parents are worried about their baby’s sleeping habits and whether or not they are healthy. Approximately 40% of the parents of 8-month-old infants who took part in the survey expressed concern about their child’s sleep habits.

When to seek professional help?

Sleep problems are common and often persist in young children, but parents are sometimes concerned about sleep symptoms that are within the normal range rather than true abnormalities. It is recommended to consult with professional when:

  • 6-month-old infant wakes up three times or more during the night
  • 8-month-old infant needs more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
  • If the baby stays awake at night for longer periods 

Even before these levels are reached, if the parents are concerned about their child or their own ability to manage the nightwalkings, they should certainly seek help. Families with infants who don’t get a good night’s sleep could benefit from sleep coaching and help their baby get healthy during the night.


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