16 Month Old Sleep Schedule: Advice, Sleep Tips and Examples

by | Jun 28, 2023 | Blog, Sleep Challenges, Sleep Schedules and Wake Windows | 2 comments

baby playing after following sleep schedule for 16 month old

BONUS MATERIAL: Download my FREE sleep chart HERE that has ALL my suggested wake windows, sleep totals, and nap totals for babies ages 0 until age 5!  This way, you’ll know what wake windows to use for your sleep schedule for your 16 month old today, as well as what they will need next month and next year!

Your baby is growing and developing everyday. And at 16 months of age, your toddler is beginning to master many new skills!  Let’s make sure your little one is getting all the sleep they need to be well-rested.

In this blog post, I’ll be discussing my most commonly-asked questions about a sleep schedule for a 16 month old.  I’ll be covering the most frequently asked questions pertaining to proper wake windows for 16 month-olds, the number of naps they need (is it time for 1 nap?), sleep totals, sleep regressions, and more!

How much sleep does a 16 month old need?

Generally speaking, most 16 month-olds need approximately 13.5 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period.  This usually equates to 11 hours of nighttime sleep and 2.5 hours of daytime naps, spread over 1-2 naps.

Please always remember that these numbers are approximates and general guidelines.  There will always be babies that need more sleep than average and there will always be those who need less.  Focus on your little one’s mood and behaviour to help you determine if he’s getting enough sleep.

*Note- with premature babies, always go by his corrected age when determining sleep needs and expectations.  

What are ideal wake windows for a 16 month old?

Wake windows for a 16 month-old can range from 3-6 hours depending on whether they are on a 1 nap schedule or a 2 nap schedule.  

Here is a general guide regarding 16 month old wake windows for a 2 nap schedule:

  • 3 hours-3 hours 15 minutes after morning wakeup=  nap 1
  • 3.5-4 hours after nap 1= nap 2
  • 3.5-4 hours after nap 2= bed time

If your 16 month old has transitioned to a 1 nap schedule, their wake windows will look something like this:

  • 5.5-6 hours after morning wakeup= nap 1
  • 4-4.5 hours after nap 1= bed time

How many naps should a 16 month old have?

A fair majority of 16 month-olds are still napping twice a day while some have successfully gone through the 2-1 nap transition and are napping once in the middle of the day.

Here are the most common signs that your toddler is ready to drop their morning nap and transition to a 1 nap schedule:

  • skipping the morning nap
  • baby is taking 2 shorter naps instead of 2 longer naps
  • fitting in both naps bumps bedtime very late
  • baby takes a very long time to fall asleep for naps and bedtime
  • sudden night wakings and early rising

How long should a 16 month old nap for?

An average 16 month old needs approximately 2.5 hours of daytime sleep.  If a 16 month old is napping twice, this amount will be split between 2 naps.  If the baby is only napping once, this longer nap will usually be a full 2.5 hours.  

Ideally, a 16 month-old’s daytime sleep totals should be at least 2 hours and no more than 3 hours per day.

**Now, if your baby is often giving you short and unpredictable naps, grab a copy of my FREE nap guide HERE that has my top 5 tips to lengthen your little one’s naps!** 

Free nap guide to lengthen naps

What time should a 16 month old go to bed?

​Most 16 month-olds have a sleep schedule where they’re ready to go to sleep for the night somewhere between 7pm and 8pm.  It’s very common to see a 16 month old require a slightly later bedtime when napping twice a day, whereas a 16 month-old newly transitioned to a 1 nap schedule will likely need an earlier bedtime. 

Remember that your little one’s bedtime is almost always going to be 12-13 hours after your little one started their day.  So if they’re waking up later for the day around 8am, their bedtime will likely need to be somewhere between 8pm and 9pm. And if your baby is waking up for the day by 6:30am, they will likely be ready for the night by 6:30pm-7:30pm.  

It goes without saying that if your baby is going to bed earlier or later than this 7-8pm range and it’s working for you, there’s no need to change anything!  

That being said, you might need to implement an earlier bedtime if:

  • your baby skipped a nap;
  • his naps were too short;
  • he’s appearing to be tired and it’s been at least 4 hours since he woke from his last nap;
  • he’s in the middle of transitioning to a 1 nap schedule; or
  • he’s sick. 

Can you provide me with a sample sleep schedule for a 16 month old?

Sure!  Here is a sample schedule for a 16 month old napping twice a day:

6:30am- wakeup
7:00am- breakfast
9:00am- snack/milk
9:45am-10:45am- nap 1
12:00pm- lunch
2:00pm- snack/milk
2:45pm-4:15pm- nap 1
4:30pm- snack/milk
6:15pm- dinner
715pm- snack/milk
7:45pm- bed time

Here is a sample schedule or a 16 month old napping once a day:

6:30am- wakeup
7:00am- breakfast
9:30am- snack/milk
11:30am- lunch
12:30pm-3pm- nap
3:30pm- snack/milk
6:00pm- dinner
7pm- snack/milk
7:30pm- bed time

Sleeping 16 month old toddler

Why won’t my 16 month old stay asleep at night?

Here are the most common culprits of continuous night wakings with 16 month-old babies:

  • Your baby doesn’t know how to sleep independently.  If your little one still needs to be rocked, fed, held, or to lie next to someone until he falls asleep, he’s likely waking up in the middle of the night because he needs you to come back and recreate those conditions to help him go back to sleep.  
  • Your 16 month old’s sleep schedule needs adjusting.  If your little one is overtired from prematurely transitioning to a 1 nap schedule or from naps that are too short, this can cause night wakings.  And on the flip side, if your little one is undertired because he needs more awake time, this can also cause night wakings.  
  • Your baby needs more gross motor activity.  At this age, babies need lots of stimulation and opportunity to move around so they can tire themselves out during the day.  If they don’t shake their sillies out during the daytime, they’ll need to shake their sillies out at night…and that’s no fun. (Side note- I had an indoor climber similar to this* in my loft when JJ was a toddler and he LOVED it!)
  • Your baby is used to having night feeds.  As long as your 16 month old is healthy, he doesn’t need these night feeds anymore.  But if his body is used to consuming full night feedings, he could be waking up hungry at night expecting those feeds.  

**If your 16 month old is still waking up in the middle of the night, I want to assure you that this is very fixable!  Go and watch my FREE masterclass called “Everything you need to know about getting your little one sleeping through the night (even if you feel like you’ve tried everything!”**

Free sleep masterclass for 16 month old

Is there a sleep regression at 16 months?

Parents can sometimes see a 16 month sleep regression with their toddler.  Here are the most common culprits of this 16 month sleep regression:

  • Transitioning to a 1 nap schedule too soon.  If your little one moved to a 1 nap schedule and isn’t ready for this transition, he will become overtired which can cause his sleep to regress.  This is why it’s SO important for your toddler to hang onto 2 naps for as long as possible, until he’s legitimately ready for 1 nap.
  • Separation anxiety.  Your toddler might be experiencing a bout of separation anxiety and is suddenly protesting bed time by standing in their crib and refusing to go to sleep, or by preferring one parent over the other.  He might need some extra reminders that you’re not disappearing into thin air when it’s bed time (or when you go to the bathroom for 2 minutes, for that matter!)  Getting your little one used to brief periods of separation through games like peek-a-boo is always helpful.  Always make sure to offer your toddler a regular bedtime routine that’s enjoyable and allows your little one to spend quality time with you before going to sleep. That being said, remember that this is a temporary phase.  Don’t bother introducing new habits that you don’t want permanently sticking around!
  • Other developmental milestones, such as learning how to walk or cutting their first molar.  If you can feel teeth cutting through, pain relief such as Motrin will likely be your best friend (though always consult with your pediatrician).   

Is my 16 month-old ready to transition to sleeping in a big kid bed?

That one is a HARD NO, my friend.  16 month-old babies do not have the maturity and impulse control to handle the freedom offered by a bed.  Transitioning a young toddler this age to a big kid bed is a recipe for disaster when you suddenly have a jack-in-the-box on your hands who refuses to stay in their room.  

Transitioning a child from a crib to a bed is a BIG change.  Keep your little one in a crib for as long as possible and save this transition for older children- trust me on this one 🙂  

And if your little one hates their crib, don’t sweat it.  We can change that and teach them to LOVE sleeping in their crib.   

Is it too late to sleep train my 16 month old baby?

No!  When you’re feeling ready, it’s ALWAYS a good time to introduce healthy sleep habits to your little one and teach him how to sleep through the night.  Sleep training your 16 month old is VERY possible using a sleep plan customized to the needs of your baby, your sleep goals for your baby and your comfort level as a parent (i.e. you don’t need to do cry it out if you don’t want to).  

If your goal is to get your 16 month old on a consistent daytime schedule with long, restorative naps, a peaceful and relaxing bedtime routine, and 11-12 hours of uninterrupted nighttime sleep, my Sleep Bible program is for you!  

A quick word about the Sleep Bible program

If you can’t remember the last time you were consistently sleeping through the night, I can help!

Sleep bible course

My Sleep Bible program has a special track designated JUST for 13-18 month-olds and will help you teach your baby, toddler or preschooler how to sleep through the night so you can feel like a functioning human again, even if your little one is going through the 16 month sleep regression.  The Sleep Bible will help you create a customized sleep plan for the needs of your baby and your comfort level so that you can establish great sleep habits and get yourself a champion sleeper!  You can learn more about my Sleep Bible program here!

*I may earn a commission from links on this page at no additional cost to you, but I only recommend products I love.

Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human?

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2 Comments

  1. techylist

    I love this blog post! I have a 16 month old and I’m always looking for advice on how to get him to sleep. I’ve been trying different things, but I’m starting to get a little bit discouraged. This post has

    Reply
    • Eva Klein

      So glad to hear that it’s helped!

      Reply

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