5 month old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule

Updated Sep 06, 2022
5 Month Old Baby

At 5 months old, the first two naps of the day should start to lengthen, meaning a transition to a three-nap schedule for those babies still napping four times a day. Once your baby transitions to three naps, their sleep schedule starts to become a whole lot more predictable! Read on to discover what to expect for your 5 month old’s sleep schedule.

Editor’s note

The recommendations listed below represent the average amount of sleep typically needed at this age. However, please note there is a range of normal as some children have lower or higher sleep needs. Your child’s schedule may vary, and that is normal.


IN THIS ARTICLE:


At this age, we recommend striving for at least 14.5 hours of total sleep over a 24-hour period, aiming for 11-12 hours at night, and 2.5 - 3.5 hours during the day spread out over 3-4 naps. 

Babies taking 4 naps a day can usually stay awake for an average of 1.5 - 2.5 hours in between sleep periods. Once they’ve transitioned to 3 naps, we’d expect the wake times for a 5 month old to be a bit longer. Look for 2 - 3 hours of awake time in those cases. Of course, keep in mind there’s often a nap transition period, where your baby may take 3 naps one day and 4 naps the next. While it can be frustrating trying to plan out your day, this is temporary! Alternating between 3- and 4-nap days can allow your baby to remain well rested as they adjust to staying awake for longer periods.

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

If you’re interested in helping your baby learn how to fall asleep with less parental help, now’s a great time to start! While your baby may not be able to fall asleep on their own consistently yet, you can certainly introduce a routine that gives them more room to practice falling asleep without you. 

It’s common for babies to begin rolling over at this age. Typically, they first roll from stomach to back, though that is not always the case! Many will have achieved both directions by about 6 months of age. If you notice your baby has rolled onto their stomach after you placed them on their back to sleep, give them a few minutes to see if they can flip back over on their own before you intervene. Be sure to give them plenty of tummy time to practice rolling over during the day! 

Safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics for babies up to 1 year of age recommend that parents always lay their baby on their back for sleep, but they may let their baby sleep in whatever position they move into once they are able to roll in both directions (as long as the baby is unswaddled, healthy, and the sleep space is safe). Speak with your pediatrician to determine any guidance specific to your baby.

Image of a 5 month old sample sleep schedule.

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

Your baby may have transitioned to 3 naps, or will be doing so soon. Once a baby has dropped the fourth nap, most need 2-3 hours of awake time in between sleep periods in order to be sufficiently tired but not overtired. Short naps are still very common and appropriate for a 5 month old baby’s sleep schedule, so don’t worry if your baby isn’t there yet when it comes to long, predictable naps.

Babies this age aren’t always able to link sleep cycles during the day, meaning it’s not uncommon for naps to be 30 - 45 minutes long. Throughout this month, we’d expect the first 2 naps of the day to start lengthening to 1 - 1.5 hours. We recommend limiting each individual nap to 1.5 - 2 hours. When naps are too long, they can interfere with your baby’s ability to consolidate sleep for upcoming naps and during the night.

The common range is 3 - 4 for a 5 month old nap schedule. Some babies will still need 4 naps a day at 5 months old, which is okay. Once a baby is able to stay awake for longer periods, they’ll need just 3 naps a day. We find that babies who are able to fall asleep independently at naptime are more likely to link their sleep cycles and comfortably stay awake for longer periods, meaning fewer naps that are longer in duration.

Morning rise7:00 AM
1st nap9:00 AM - 10:30 AM (1.5 hours); 2 hours of awake time before 1st nap
2nd nap12:45 PM - 2:15 PM (1.5 hours); 2.25 hours of awake time before 2nd nap
3rd nap4:30 PM - 5:15 PM (45 minutes); 2.25 hours of awake time before 3rd nap
Get ready for sleep7:00 PM
Asleep7:45 PM; 2.5 hours of awake time before bed

Morning rise7:00 AM
1st nap 8:30 AM - 9:15 AM (45 minutes); 1.5 hours of awake time before 1st nap
2nd nap 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (1 hour); 1.75 hours of awake time before 2nd nap
3rd nap2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (1 hour); 2 hours of awake time before 3rd nap
4th nap 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM (30 minutes); 2 hours of being awake before the 4th nap
Get ready for sleep 7:00 PM
Asleep 7:45 PM; 2.25 hours of awake time before bed

At this age, we recommend planning bedtime according to wake windows, rather than following a strict bedtime. If your baby takes short naps all day or skips a nap, bedtime will likely need to be adjusted earlier to limit overtiredness.

Most babies this age are ready for night sleep between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. However, the ideal bedtime for your baby will vary according to a few factors. You’ll want to consider when your baby wakes for the day, how well they’ve napped, and how much awake time they need before bed. Most 5 month olds need 2 - 2.5 hours of wakefulness between their last nap and bedtime. However, a baby closer to 6 months of age may need closer to 3 hours of awake time before bed.

5 Month Old Baby Sleep FAQ

Q: Can a 5 month old baby sleep through the night?

A:

Most babies can sleep for 8 hours at night by 6 months of age. Others still need 1 - 2 feeds during the night. If a baby can fall asleep independently at bedtime, they’ll be more likely to link sleep cycles during the night and lengthen their sleep periods. Since the circadian rhythm isn’t fully developed until 5 - 6 months of age, some babies will need help falling back to sleep during the night, especially in the early morning hours.

Q: How often do 5 month old babies sleep?

A:

It’s common to need 2-3 hours of awake time for a 5 month old. However, if your baby still takes 4 naps, they may need their first couple of naps after just 1.5-2 hours of awake time.

Q: How much nighttime sleep is expected for a 5 month old?

A:

At this age, we hope to see 11-12 hours of total time in the sleep space at night. While most of that time should be spent sleeping, it’s common for babies to need 1 or 2 feedings at night.

Q: How much awake time is expected for a 5 month old?

A:

5 month olds typically need 2-3 hours of awake time between sleep periods. However, some can only stay awake for 1.5-2 hours in the morning. The shortest period of awake time is generally between morning rise time and the first nap. Expect awake periods to lengthen throughout the day. It seems counterintuitive, but the longest period of wakefulness tends to be before bedtime.

Q: How much daytime sleep does a 5 month old need?

A:

We recommend aiming for 2.5-3.5 hours of day sleep over the course of 3-4 naps.

Q: Is there a 5 month old sleep regression?

A:

A baby’s sleep matures by 4 months, and they’ll have more cycles and stages of sleep than they did as a newborn. As a result, it’s common to see increased night wakings and short naps at this age as a result of the “4 month regression.” Additionally, when a baby is mastering a milestone, like rolling, it can cause a disruption in sleep.

Q: Why does my 5 month old only have short naps?

A:

Short naps are common during this stage of baby development, as it can take time for an infant to learn to link sleep cycles during the day. However, you’ll also want to consider whether a parental-led sleep association or hunger is contributing to some of the short naps.

Q: My 5 month old baby knows how to fall asleep on their own, and isn’t waking from hunger, but still takes short naps. What’s the deal?

A:

Your baby may be ready for longer wake periods. Try lengthening the amount of awake time to 2 - 2.5 hours to see if this helps lengthen the naps and get your baby back to an appropriate 5 month old sleep schedule.

Q: Is EAT-PLAY-SLEEP an appropriate routine for 5 month olds?

A:

Many pediatric sleep experts will recommend an EAT-PLAY-SLEEP routine for young babies. However, at this age, we often find that this routine can contribute to shorter naps. For example, consider a baby who needs to eat every 2.5 - 3 hours. If the baby is ready for 2-hour awake periods, this can lead to waking early from a nap due to hunger.

Related Topics:

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.