23 month old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule

Amber LoRe - Sleep Consultant / Pediatric sleep consultant / Created Jul 29 2021
23 month old sleep schedule

It’s common for 23 month olds to resist falling asleep at bedtime. This is often due to a combination of needing a longer wake window before bed, coupled with independence-seeking behaviors.

If you find that your 23 month old would prefer to throw everything out of their crib instead of laying down to sleep, take comfort in knowing that the behavior is developmentally appropriate. (It's also understandably frustrating!) This desire for independence is a natural part of baby development and allows your child to practice problem-solving skills. Ensuring your child is well-rested will help them have the patience and energy to succeed.


IN THIS ARTICLE


At 23 months old, aim for at least 12.5 hours of total sleep per day (about 11 hours at night and 1.5 - 2 hours of day sleep in 1 nap). Most children need 5.25 - 5.75 hours of awake time in between sleep periods at this age.

[Note: for children who were born early, we go by their adjusted age for sleep development.]

Try describing your sleep routine for toddlers in terms of “first, next, last,” in order to help set limits at bedtime. For example, you might say, “First we’ll brush your teeth, then we’ll change into pajamas, and last, we’ll read a book before I kiss you goodnight.” When your child knows what to expect during their routine, it can help cut down on stalling at bedtime.

Toddlers this age love to test limits and are able to stay awake for longer periods, making it likely that they’ll skip naps here and there. Since most children will need to continue to nap until at least 3 years old, it’s important to continue to offer the nap daily.

If your child is fighting naptime, continue offering them quiet time in their crib or sleep space every day. At its best, it’s giving them time to rest and recharge, and hopefully, they manage to fall asleep. At its worst, it’s good for them to develop their independent play habits, and can provide a much-needed break for you!

23 month old sleep schedule sample

Note: Sleep needs vary by child and this chart should be viewed as an example.

23 month olds should still be napping once a day. At this age, 5.25 hours of awake time before a nap is ideal.

A 23 month old’s nap schedule should allow for about 1.5 - 2 hours of day sleep. Expect your toddler to take 1 nap per day. Most toddlers need between 5.25 - 5.75 hours of awake time in between sleep periods at this age.

Target 1 midday nap, typically 5.25 hours after waking in the morning. Be sure to offer lunch before the nap, to help ensure that your toddler doesn’t wake early from hunger.

Morning rise7:00 AM
Nap12:15 PM - 2:15 PM (2 hour nap) 5.25 hours awake time before nap
Get ready for bed7:15 PM
Asleep8:00 PM 5.75 hours awake time before bedtime
Morning rise7:00 AM
Nap12:15 PM - 1:45 PM (1.5 hour nap) 5.25 hours awake time before nap
Get ready for bed6:45 PM
Asleep7:30 PM 5.75 hours awake time before bedtime
23 month old sleep schedule 2

Ideally, your 23 month old will be getting around 11 hours of sleep at night, so bedtime should be about 13 hours after waking in the morning, as long as your child naps well. If your toddler takes a short nap, offer an earlier bedtime to limit overtiredness, which often leads to shortened nighttime sleep, and can start the cycle all over again. 

Toddlers often take longer to settle down at bedtime - their busy little minds (and hands, and feet…) can take a while to start to quiet. It can be a good idea to lengthen your pre-bedtime sleep routine by 10 - 15 minutes if you find that your toddler is taking a long time to fall asleep.  Try reading another book, or quietly working on a puzzle together to give them the additional time needed to help wind down before bed. 

Ideally, your 23 month old will be getting around 11 hours of sleep at night, so bedtime should be about 13 hours after waking in the morning (as long as your child naps well). If your toddler takes a short nap, offer an earlier bedtime to limit overtiredness, which often leads to shortened nighttime sleep, and can start the cycle all over again. 

Toddlers often take longer to settle down at bedtime - their busy little minds (and hands, and feet…) can take a while to start to quiet. It can be a good idea to lengthen your pre-bedtime sleep routine by 10 - 15 minutes if you find that your toddler is taking a long time to fall asleep.  Try reading another book, or quietly working on a puzzle together to give them the additional time needed to help wind down before bed.

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23 month old baby sleep FAQ

Q: Can a 23 month old baby sleep through the night?

A:

Yes, most toddlers this age are capable of sleeping through the night without parental assistance or feedings. If your toddler has strong independent sleep habits and gets enough calories throughout the day, they’re more likely to sleep 11 - 12 hours without calling out for your assistance.

Q: How often do 23 month old babies sleep?

A:

You’ll want to keep wake windows between 5.25 - 5.75 hours long when establishing your 23 month old’s sleep schedule. Generally, toddlers will stay awake for about 5.25 hours in the morning before their first nap, and up to 5.75 hours before bedtime.

Q: How much nighttime sleep for a 23 month old?

A:

Most 23 month old toddlers need at least 11 hours of nighttime sleep to be well-rested. However, sleep needs do vary. If your toddler has lower sleep needs than the average 12.5 hours of total sleep, pediatric sleep experts agree that you’ll want to ensure that they get a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime sleep.

Q: How much awake time for a 23 month old?

A:

The ideal wake window for 23 month olds tends to be between 5.25 - 5.75 hours long. Generally, the first wake window of the day is the shortest, so expect that your toddler will need about 5.25 hours of awake time before their nap. As the day progresses, your toddler will be able to stay awake for longer, resulting in the longest window of awake time before bed, lasting no more than 5.75 hours.

Q: How much daytime sleep for a 23 month old?

A:

Aim for 1 nap per day. Target 1.5 - 2 hours of day sleep for your 23 month old’s nap schedule.

Q: Is there a 23 month regression?

A:

We often see a sudden change in sleep patterns around 24 months of age. The 2 year old sleep regression, often brought on by the development of limit-testing and independence-seeking behaviors, can mean new struggles at naptime and bedtime. The good news is your toddler isn’t a baby anymore and can understand more of what you’re saying when asking them to stay in their bed, or their room. The bad news is, they’ve got new words of their own, and sometimes they can talk right back at you!