Putting your 6 month old on a sleep schedule can be one of the best things you can do for their sleep. This blog post will give you tips for your 6 month old sleep schedule plus provide a sample sleep schedule.
How Much Sleep Does a 6 Month Old Need?
6 month old babies need 10-12 hours of sleep at night plus 2-4 hours of sleep during the day, on average. The total sleep in a 24-hour period is usually around 14 hours.
In most situations, the more your baby naps during the day, the less they will sleep at night, and vice versa. The key is to know how much total sleep they need on an average day. The more regular your baby is, the less that total will vary. However, if you have a baby who is more irregular, you can expect the total to vary a bit within 30-60 minutes per day. Irregular 6 month old sleep schedules will vary from day to day.
Wake Windows at 6 Months
The first key to a great sleep schedule is to keep your baby from getting overtired. If your baby is predictable, they might wake up around the same time every day. That makes it easier to start seeing a pattern as to what time to offer naps and bedtime.
However, some babies are unpredictable and wake up at slightly different times every day. For these babies, the key to the best 6 month old sleep schedule is to set their next nap or bedtime based on their wake windows. In other words, set their next sleep period based on how long they’ve been awake.
At 6 months old, the wake windows are usually 2-3 hours before naps and before bedtime. The only exception is if your baby has already dropped to two naps. If that’s the case, the last wake window might be 3-4 hours long.
How Many Naps and How Long Should Naps Be?
Naps on a 6 month old sleep schedule should be at least one hour for the first two naps of the day and around 30-45 minutes for any catnaps for the remainder of the day. Most 6 month olds are taking 3 naps but some are still taking 4. A small number of babies this age might take just two naps. However, in my experience, those babies are usually taking two 2-hour naps which is merely a dream for some of us.
Sample 6 Month Old Sleep Schedule
Here is a sample 6 month old sleep schedule based on my experience as a baby sleep consultant for 15 years.
What About Feedings for 6 Month Olds?
If you’re looking for sample schedules that include feedings, be sure to check out our more comprehensive 6 month old feeding and sleep schedules for breastfeeding and formula-feeding babies.