How important sleep really is for your baby

Your London sleep consultant view is that sleep is one of the most important aspects of your baby’s life, there are so many factors in their development which are improved by the right amount of sleep.

‘What is the right amount of sleep for my baby?’ you may ask, well that is fully dependant on their age. The National Sleep Foundation have provided recommendations, based on current research, for the total daily sleep needs of children from new-born babies through to those at school-age.

This table can be found on the sleep foundation website:








0-3 months old

4-11 months old

1-2 years old

3-5 years old

6-13 years old

Recommended Hours of Sleep

14-17 hours

12-15 hours

11-14 hours

10-13 hours

9-11 hours

So, as you can see, a new-born baby requires a huge amount of sleep which gradually decreases as they grow and develop. Of course, these are just guidelines and each baby will have very different needs, so if you find that your child needs an extra hour than what is recommended here then that is ok. You can use these suggestions as a guide and adjust from day to day.

Why does my baby need so much sleep?

Babies need so much sleep because of the significant growth they go through, it allows your baby to develop physically and acquire better motor skills. Sleep allows the brain to advance, it allows babies to engage in activities that promote thinking and learning, and it encourages a positive behavioural pattern.

From the very first days of your baby’s life, sleep will help with developments which affect the brain, body, their emotional state and behaviour and it sets the stage for their continued growth through childhood. Ensuring your baby has the most effective sleeping pattern will encourage their development in many ways:

  1. Promotes growth – “Growth hormone is primarily secreted during deep sleep” Judith Owens, M.D., director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.
  2. Helps the heart – it is becoming more understood that the hormones released during sleep can help to protect children from vascular damage.
  3. Helps with weight control – evidence is beginning to show that little sleep is linked to infants becoming overweight.
  4. Fights infection, illness, and stress – the human body (in babies through to adulthood) produces proteins whilst we sleep to help defend us against germs

How can I get my baby to sleep more?

With the best intensions, it is not always easy to get your baby to sleep as much as is recommended, so what can you do? Our London sleep consultant suggests these tips:

  1. Create a peaceful bedroom environment
  2. Ensure they have a suitable mattress
  3. Minimize distractions such as television
  4. Make sure you have set a pre-bed routine and stick to it
  5. Try to do activities throughout the day which will use up your baby’s energy

If you need any advice or help from the expert London sleep consultant please give us a call, we are always happy to help.

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