A 24-Month-Old’s Sleep Schedule: What to Know
Updated Jan 17th 2023 | 7 min read
Updated Jan 17th 2023 | 7 min read
Written By Mandy Treeby Chief Baby Sleep Consultant
A 24-month-old’s sleep has come a long way since they were a newborn.
Back then, their sleep was disorganized and sometimes unpredictable. As they have grown, so their sleep needs have changed.
You therefore may have some questions, like “How much should a 24-month-old sleep during the day?” or “Can my 24-month-old sleep through the night ?”
Rest assured, we’re here to answer some of the most common sleep-related questions for 24-month-olds.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
If you haven’t started sleep training yet, now is a great time. You’ll help your baby sleep more, you’ll sleep more, and sleep coaching helps ensure your baby reaches all of their developmental milestones.
To start sleep training, simply download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ . Developed by pediatric sleep experts, this easy-to-use app walks you through the sleep coaching process from start to finish!
We’ve used these times just as an example. When creating your unique baby’s unique schedule, focus less on clock time and more on your baby’s wake windows and sleepy cues.
By using these two elements together, you strengthen your baby’s natural sleep rhythm to help them get the nourishing sleep they need to keep growing and developing .
Awake: 5 hrs. 30 mins
Nap: 1 hr 30 mins
Awake: 5 hrs 30mins
Yes. A 24-month-old can sleep through the night, most babies are getting all of the calories they need during the day by the age of 9-months so by the age of two they certainly don’t need to wake at night to eat.
If your 24-month old is waking at night it could be for a whole host of reasons, but it’s worth considering revisiting sleep training and the Smart Sleep Coach app is so effective, most users see results in 1 week!
A good goal for 24-month-olds is 12.5 hours over a 24-hour period.
11 hours is a good goal for nighttime sleep for 24-month-olds.
For daytime sleep, aim for at least 90 minutes during one nap, though up to 2 hours and 30 minutes also work. Avoid naps longer than that, though, because this can make falling asleep at night harder and fighting bedtime may lead to overtiredness.
Most 24-month-olds are awake between 5-and-a-half hours and 6 hours between sleeps. That’s incredible – so much time to bond and play and cuddle!
Yes, there’s often a 24-month-regression. As with previous regressions , some causes may include:
Luckily this is one of the shorter regressions and typically passes within 1-3 weeks! Next thing you know you’ll be teaching your baby to drive!
As your baby grows and becomes more mobile, your family may travel more, but that’s no reason to give up on sleep coaching. Here’s how to sleep coach while traveling:
If you’re traveling within the same time zone, simply maintain your typical sleep schedule and bedtime routines.
Time zone travel can complicate sleep coaching, but it doesn’t have to derail it.
If you’re traveling just one time zone forward or back, it may be best to keep your baby’s at-home schedule.
If you’re traveling across multiple time zones:
Begin adjusting your baby to the new time zone before you travel. You do this by adjusting their bedtime forward or back in 15-minute increments for each zone you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling east to west, move your baby’s bedtime back in 15 minutes increments for the number of time zones you’re crossing.
For example, if you’re traveling west across three time zones, move your baby’s bedtime back 15 minutes 3 days before your travel, then 30 minutes 2 days before your travel, and 45 minutes 1 day before your travel.
If you’re traveling west to east, move your baby’s bedtime up in 15 minutes increments for as many days as time zones you’re crossing.
For example, if you’re traveling west to east 2 time zones, move your baby’s bedtime up 15 minutes one night, then 15 minutes the next night.
Despite moving your baby’s bedtime, they may still experience overtiredness while traveling. Sunlight can also help “click” your baby’s sleep schedule, and an extra nap mid-day can work, too.
If you’ve sleep trained your baby, revisiting your sleep training method may also help your baby overcome a travel-related sleep disruption.
Some 24-month-olds may experience nightmares that disrupt their sleep: they’ll wake up crying or call out for you in the middle of the night. These incidents can be unsettling for them, and you.
Night terrors are a little different than a nightmare. While nightmares typically happen in the middle of the night, night terrors typically happen earlier in the evening. Symptoms of a night terror include:
Your baby may appear to be awake during a night terror. Their eyes may be open, and they may appear alert, but they are not awake.
Remain calm – remember that this is temporary; panic or fear may increase your baby’s discomfort.
An individual night terror incident can last up to 45 minutes, but they tend to be shorter. Even as disturbing as these may be, though, the good news is that your baby is not fully awake and therefore will be easier to settle back down than if they have a nightmare.
Some children will continue to have sporadic night terrors until adolescence.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much any parents can do to completely stop or prevent nightmares or night terrors, but the following tips may help your baby sleep better in general.
Maintain Sleep Schedules: Common triggers for bad dreams include stress and being overtired, both of which can be prevented by keeping up a healthy, age-appropriate sleep schedule.
Calming Routines: Regardless of your baby’s age, a calming routine will help your baby feel safe and secure before bed.
Respond Quickly: We generally advise against checking on your baby if they briefly cry out at night, but if your baby is crying from a nightmare or you know they’re having a nightmare, go in and reassure them.
Note: Do not try to wake your baby if they have a night terror. Simply being present and offering reassurances is enough in that case.
Discuss Their Dream: If your baby remembers their dream and can verbalize what happened, discuss the dream, and explain to them why that situation can’t hurt them.
Night Lights: Night lights can help little ones sleep a little easier.
The general rule for transitioning your baby from their crib to a toddler or big kid bed is: “Move your baby when they’re 3 feet tall.” If your baby is less than 3 feet, our lead sleep consultant, Mandy Treeby , Chief Pediatric Sleep Consultant for the Smart Sleep Coach App, suggests waiting to move your baby until they’re 3 or 4 years old: “I usually recommend keeping them there until around the age of 3 or 4 when they are better able to comprehend the transition to a big kid bed.”
And for any other sleep-related questions you have, check out the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. In addition to 1-click sleep tracking that customizes your baby’s sleep schedule, this easy-to-use app is packed with bite-sized articles that explain everything from nap transitions to the witching hour. It’s a game-changer – and a sleep-saver!
Yes, sleep regressions are common for 24-month-olds, but – good news! – this is their last sleep regression and, as with earlier regressions, the 24-month sleep regression is easily minimized by maintaining your bedtime routine and revisiting your sleep coaching method.
Every baby is different, but generally we advise putting your baby down for bed between 7-8pm because babies naturally wake up early , so an early bedtime ensures they’ll get the nighttime rest they need. That said, watch your baby’s wake windows and sleepy cues more than the clock.
A 24-month-old may wake up at night because of a natural sleep regression, separation anxiety , a nightmare, or because they’re sleeping too much during the day. Luckily, it’s easy to get your baby’s sleep back on track by maintaining your bedtime routine and revisiting your sleep coaching method.
A good sleep schedule for a 24-month-old includes 1 mid-day nap lasting 90 minutes to 2.5 hours.
“Frequent Nightmares in Children: Familial Aggregation and Associations with Parent-Reported Behavioral and Mood Problems,” Sleep Research Society .
“Toddler Bedtime Routines and Associations With Nighttime Sleep Duration and Maternal and Household
“Restless sleep in children: A systematic review,” Sleep Medicine Review.
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.