Six months is a major milestone for babies – they’re often sitting up, maybe some teeth are coming in, and they’re learning their name. And a 6-month-old’s sleep is evolving, too. By now your babies’ circadian rhythms have firmed up and they have the power to self-soothe – that is, calm and relax themselves to fall asleep alone.
Where a mere two months ago their sleep was all over the place, it’s now becoming more organized – and there are more changed afoot, too – all of which can lead to a lot of questions, including “What is a sleep schedule for 6-month-olds?” and “How do I sleep train through teething?” This article answers those questions, and many more related to a 6-month-old’s sleep.
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Sample Sleep Schedule for a 6-Month-Old Baby
Every baby’s unique, including your own, so this schedule is just an example. Also, when creating your own baby’s sleep schedule, remember to focus on their wake windows and sleepy cues, rather than the clock time.
- Wake Windows: The length of time babies are awake between sleeps. These are the fundamental drive of sleep. They’ll get longer as your baby grows and sleep trains, a process that helps consolidate your baby’s sleep at night.
- Sleepy Cues: The actions or things your baby does when they’re sleepy, such as yawning, rubbing their eyes, or turning away from you.
Learn more about how wake windows and sleepy cues work by downloading the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. This incredible app automatically tracks wake windows when you enter sleeps and adjusts your baby’s recommended schedule to optimize for overnight sleep.
Tip: While this schedule is just a sample, the wake window times are accurate for a 6-month-old. Using them as a guide for your baby will help keep their sleep on a healthy, age-appropriate schedule.
Sleep Schedule for 6-Month-Olds with 3 Naps
Do 6-month-olds sleep through the night?
Yes and no.
Yes, 6-month-olds can sleep for longer stretches at night, especially if they’re sleep coached. That’s because sleep coaching works with your baby’s circadian rhythm to consolidate their sleeps at night. Sleep coaching also enhances your baby’s natural ability to self-soothe. This means that if they wake up at night and aren’t hungry, they’re more likely to lull themselves back to sleep.
But, speaking of hunger, some babies will still wake up for night feedings at this age. (Formula-bed babies can typically be weaned from night feedings around 6 months; for breastfed babies, it’s often closer to 12 months.)
What is a 6-month-old’s wake window?
A 6-month-old’s wake window is typically about 2-3 hours between naps or a nap and bedtime. Babies this age are still growing fast and need a lot of rest to meet their developmental milestones. (Learn more about what developmental milestones to expect at 6-months here.)
How much sleep should a 6-month-old get in a day?
Experts agree 6-month-olds need about 14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period. That includes overnight sleep and daily naps.
How much should my 6-month-old sleep at night?
For overnight sleep, 6-month-olds should sleep about 11-12 hours. Keep in mind this will not be a solid 11-12 hours – some babies this age still wake for feedings.
How much should my 6-month-old sleep during the day?
A good goal for a 6-month-old’s daytime sleep is 2.5-3 hours. This is usually spread over three naps, but some 6-month-olds may be ready for their 3-to-2 nap transition.
How Long is a 6-month-old’s naps?
A 6-month-old’s first two daily naps generally are 60-90 minutes.
A 6-month-old’s third and final nap of the day is usually closer to 30-45 minutes.
Can 6-month-olds nap transition?
Some 6-month-olds may begin to drift toward their 3-to-2 nap transition. You can tell your baby is ready for a nap transition when they resist their final nap, that nap is shorter, or your baby has trouble falling asleep at their normal bedtime.
While some babies may be ready for this transition at 6 months, though, it’s usually closer to 7.
Signs your baby is ready for a nap transition include:
- They have trouble falling asleep during a nap, typically the final one of the day.
- They have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night when they used to be sleeping well.
- They miss a nap and aren’t fussy.
Why are naps important for babies?
Naps are important for babies because naps give your baby’s body time to grow – which it’s doing a lot of – and naps also help strengthen your baby’s memory.
You see, your baby’s sleep cycles include two types of sleep: REM Sleep and NREM Sleep. REM Sleep strengthens learning and cognition.
NREM Sleep strengthens memory consolidation.
NREM Sleep appears earlier in your baby’s sleep cycle, which also means they appear earlier in naps – in fact, naps are sometimes only NREM sleep. This means naps are chock full of the sleep that builds your baby’s memory.
For more on the science behind sleep coaching, read this article explaining the internal systems and processes behind your baby’s sleep.
Is there a 6-month-old sleep regression?
No, there is not a traditional 6-month sleep regression. However, your 6-month-old is still new to this whole sleep thing, so it’s totally normal if they’re still struggling to fall asleep independently. Just remember, the work you do now helps your baby for years to come.
Will teething disrupt my baby’s sleep?
Your 6-month-old may be on the cusp of teething, which typically begins between 6-12 months. Unfolding off and on over about 18 months, teething can be uncomfortable for babies and, yes, teething can sometimes disrupt sleep.
Luckily, there are a few ways to help your baby sleep through teething pain:
- Wipe Drool: Teething babies drool a lot – and all this drool can lead to drool rash on their chin or cheeks, which is itchy and uncomfortable. Help your baby sleep through teething by making sure their chin is clean and dry.
- Gum Massage: Use a clean finger to gently massage the area where the tooth is emerging. The application of light pressure can help alleviate teething discomfort. You can recognize the teething spot because it will be red and swollen compared to the rest of your baby’s gums.
- Teething Rings: Teething rings also use the “pressure as relief” method but are a bit better than a gum massage because teething rings let your baby target the sore area themselves.
- Chilled Fruit, Spoon, Cloth: Cold items can also “numb” teething pain, and we recommend letting your baby chew on chilled fruit, a cold metal spoon, or a cool, wet washcloth to alleviate teething discomfort – but always keep a watchful eye to prevent choking.
Important Note: Do not give your baby frozen objects for teething. Frozen objects are not good for teething because they can stick to your baby’s gums and tear their delicate skin. Stick instead to chilled items.
For more information on how to help your baby fall asleep faster, and for step-by-step guidance in how to sleep coach, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™.
“Night waking in 4- to 8-month-old infants,” Journal of Pediatrics.
“Infant sleep-wake behaviors at two weeks, three and six months,” Infant Behavior and Development.
“Six-month-old infant long sleepers prefer a human face,” Sleep Medicine.
How We Wrote This Article
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.