How Much Sleep Does A 3 Year Old Need? How to Know If Your 3-year-old is Getting Enough Sleep? Update 05/2024

How can you determine if your toddler or preschooler is getting enough sleep?

Without proper sleep, a preschooler can become as cranky as any adolescent ever has been. There’s nothing worse than a kid who isn’t getting enough shut-eye. This sounds familiar?

Individual needs are taken into consideration when determining the recommended number of hours of sleep every night. How well-rested you are can make a huge impact in your child’s conduct and your own sanity. In the next paragraphs, you’ll learn how much sleep a three-year-old need.

How Much Sleep Should a 3-Year-Old Get?

To maintain good health, most three-year-olds require 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day (including naps), according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. If your child just celebrated their third birthday, their sleep requirements may be higher than those of a 2-year-old, who needs up to 14 hours of sleep each day.
Toddler sleep: what to expect | Raising Children Network

Do Preschoolers Still Need to Nap?

Your three-year-old may have you questioning whether or not they still need an afternoon sleep. Despite their displeasure, most preschoolers continue to take a few hours of naps each day until they are around the age of four or five. There are fortunate kindergarten teachers who have pupils that fall asleep when it’s their turn to rest time (yes, they still do that in schools). There are some parents who enjoy having some time alone in the afternoon, while others consider naptime as a nuisance that breaks their work schedule. No matter which camp you fall into, some children simply can’t make it through the day without taking some time out for themselves. It’s not hard to see why they’re so energetic! There are several reasons why naps are necessary, besides simply giving their small bodies a break. As they go about their day, preschoolers are continuously picking up new skills and knowledge. Short-term memories are transferred to long-term storage in the brain during a nap.

Average Sleep Schedule

It’s common for 3-year-olds to require 10 to 13 hours of sleep per night, as well as a 1-to-2-hour afternoon nap time. An early bedtime of 7 to 9 PM is ideal for children this age.

Why Does a 3-Year-Old Need So Much Sleep?

So much of our lives can be improved by getting a good night’s sleep. Research shows that most children aren’t getting enough nutrients. According to a meta-analysis, the average preschooler only receives 9.68 hours of sleep every day. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, even a few minutes of sleep deprivation can have major ramifications. The three-year-old comparison is still relevant. In other words, it’s a thing. Preschoolers who aren’t getting enough sleep struggle to manage their emotions, which leads to more misbehavior and tantrums. A lack of sleep can lead to a host of health problems, including learning issues, a weaker immune system, and more. At this time of the year, your child’s growth is rapid and relaxation is crucial. . Memory consolidation, growth hormone release, and tissue healing all occur during sleep.
How much sleep do preschoolers and big kids need? | BabyCenter

How to Tell if Your Preschooler Needs More Hours of Sleep

Your child may be suffering from sleep deprivation if they are continuously grumpy, have difficulty listening, or have frequent tantrums and meltdowns. Emotional ups and downs are to be expected in toddlers and preschoolers as they learn about boundaries and push their limits. It’s possible that your child is overtired if he or she has a meltdown every few minutes from sunrise to dusk. Children at this age can shift from being exhausted to being wired very fast. Sleep deprivation may also be a sign that your child is fighting naps and bedtime.

Creating a Bedtime Routine

Your child may benefit from an earlier bedtime and a relaxing pre-bed ritual. The consistency of the plan can help to send a message to preschoolers’ brains that it is getting close to bedtime. At this age, a warm bath, jammies, reading time, and tucking in are the norm.

How long does the 3-year sleep regression last?

The 3-year sleep regression has no predetermined period or duration. In reality, each child’s situation is unique.

In certain cases, a three-year sleep regression does not occur. It’s not uncommon for this to occur more than once a year. There are a lot of variables to consider, including whether or not there are any underlying causes, and how parents choose to manage the situation,” Garbi says.

Nonetheless, the 3-year-old sleep relapse can continue anywhere from a few days to many weeks.

What causes the 3-year sleep regression?

To ponder what’s behind a dramatic shift in sleep patterns is reasonable. For both you and your child, sleep regressions can be tiring.

However, there are some common reasons why a 3-year-old can be having a sleep regression, even though each child is unique

Developmental milestones

A physical or developmental change is one of the most typical causes of a sleep regression. There are many physical, social, and emotional changes that toddlers go through as they learn to walk and talk, as well as discover the finer nuances of play.

Some 3 year olds are going through a huge shift in their development as well. Toddlers may begin potty training at this time. When it comes to potty training, “most 3-year-olds are learning how to do it, and this new ability or stress on the ability can induce more nighttime waking than typical,” Willenborg notes.

When they have to go to the bathroom, they may not be able to sleep again since they are awakened.

Nightmares, fears, and phobias

We see the world differently as kids become older, and with that greater complexity comes an increased level of dread.

“Fears begin to arise around this age, and these anxieties may bleed into nighttime, causing a desire to oppose going to sleep and/or sleeping alone,” Willenborg states.

Reassuring your youngster that they are safe and sound is a great way to combat this. You can also get a nightlight or a little lamp to create a more pleasant atmosphere in their room.

Environmental changes

Changes in your child’s environment can also impact his or her sleep cycle. According to Willenborg, the majority of youngsters transition to a toddler bed around the age of three. If your kid isn’t ready, the change might bring all sorts of problems.

Evening routines for your toddler might be influenced by events that occur during the day. For example, if your child begins daycare at this age, they may lash out or act out in order to seek consolation from you. For both you and your child, the introduction of a sibling can have an impact on sleep.

Changes to their nap schedule

You may notice that your child is more tired at night if he or she is unable to sleep during the day because, well, life is too fascinating for sleep.

Willenborg explains that “most children give up their naps around the age of three.” A sleep deficit can build up if you don’t change your child’s bedtime to compensate throughout the transition, and this sleep debt, which will make your youngster overtired, can cause night wakings as well as early rises.

Additionally, it’s possible that your 3-year-old is pushing the envelope to see how far they can take things. As a 3-year-old, independence is critical. It’s important to set limits and be consistent in your messaging and tone of voice while dealing with disobedient children. Every so often, it’s best to be more aggressive.
Establishing good sleep habits: 12 to 18 months - BabyCentre UK

Should a Three-Year-Old Sleep in a Crib or Bed?

As tempting as it may be to keep your child in a crib until they leave for college, they’ll likely be making Houdini-like escapes before their third birthday. With the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending that your kid be moved from a crib to a bed once they’re 35 inches (89 cm) tall or at the side rail height at its nipple level. A dramatic change like switching from a crib to a toddler or twin bed might lead to fights over bedtime. You may help your child prepare for this major kid move by reading books about it, letting them pick out new bedding, and practicing during the day.

Should a 3-Year-Old Use a Pillow?

At this age, it is unnecessary to use pillows. For spinal alignment, many young toddlers sleep on their stomachs, and not using a pillow is preferable. The following pillows are perfect for toddlers who like to sleep with a pillow.

What do 3-year-olds sleep in and do they need a pillow?

Many preschoolers and toddlers are still utilizing a wearable blanket when they sleep in footed pajamas or normal pajamas. The reason for this is that many toddlers and preschoolers have trouble keeping their blankets on all night and are extremely active as they sleep. You can either dress your child warmly and expect the blanket to fall off or continue to use a larger wearable blanket if you don’t want to be awakened by a falling blanket at night.

Pillows that are specifically designed for toddlers can be found; however, in my experience, many children of this age still don’t require one due to their short necks, which the cushion tends to exacerbate. Despite the fact that we expect our children to mature quickly, certain things simply require time. The pillow should not be rushed. You don’t have to worry whether your child is doing well with a pillow he or she is using.

How to know if your 3-year-old is getting enough sleep

For a 3-year-old, how can you know if he or she is receiving adequate rest? As far as I know, mood and behavior are the best markers. It’s possible that your child’s behavior is a sign that she isn’t getting enough sleep. Of course, three-nangers have strong beliefs and will lash out in rage when they disagree with them. As an alternative, if you discover that the most of your day is spent dealing with tantrums, with brief moments of happiness in the morning or after nap, it’s likely that your child needs more sleep.


Sleep is just as vital as exercise and a balanced diet for your child’s well-being. Most children at this age require between 10 and 13 hours of sleep per night, with a one- to two-hour afternoon nap. Be mindful of the fact that each child’s sleep requirements are unique. Two of the best markers of a well-rested preschooler are their mood and conduct. Make an effort to maintain a regular daily schedule that includes plenty of time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. A relaxing pre-bed ritual and an early bedtime will help you get a good night’s sleep and keep your sanity.

Rate this post