5 week old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule

Updated Jul 01, 2024
5 week old baby sleep header

At 5 weeks, there’s still not a whole lot of predictability in the sleep department. Naps can be short or long and babies are still expected to wake multiple times overnight for feeds and comfort. While you may be eager for some more structure (and sleep for yourself!), rest assured that you’re doing everything “right” and this is normal behavior for newborns. Your little one will likely settle into a more typical cycle of sleep and eating closer to 3 - 4 months old. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through how much sleep you may expect from your 5 week old and reassure you that your newborn’s chaotic sleep patterns are common for this age group. 

Editor's Note

The recommendations listed in this article represent the average amount of sleep typically needed at this age. However, please note there is a wide range of normal as some children have lower or higher sleep needs. Also note for children who were born early, we go by their adjusted age for sleep development.


IN THIS ARTICLE: 

How much should a 5 week old sleep?

Naptime schedule for 5 weeks

Bedtime for 5 week olds

5 week old baby sleep FAQ


Newborns usually sleep for about 16 - 17 hours per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics [1]. It’s normal to feel like your baby is still in a pattern of sleeping, waking up to feed and get a diaper change, then it’s practically time for another nap. At 5 weeks, most babies can comfortably stay awake for around 30 - 90 minutes before they need to sleep again.

This cycle may feel chaotic — especially since you never know if a nap will last 30 minutes or 2 hours — but it won’t last forever. After 3 - 4 months of age, babies usually fall into a more typical 24-hour cycle for sleeping and eating.

Keep in mind that there’s not a magic number when it comes to sleep, especially for newborns.  There’s a wide range of normal, so try not to strive for a specific number of hours or naps, especially in these first months. Instead, evaluate your baby’s overall mood and energy levels to determine if they’re getting enough sleep every day. 

It can be tricky to determine when your baby needs to sleep again, especially if you’re trying to follow an “eat, play, sleep” routine and it seems like the “play” portion only lasts long enough for some eye contact and then they’re ready to doze off. Try to evaluate whether your little one is ready to sleep again by focusing on wake windows and sleepy cues

At 5 weeks, a typical wake window may be around 30 - 90 minutes before it’s time for more sleep. It’s common for little ones to have their shortest stretch of awake time in the morning. Wake windows often lengthen as the day goes on. Their longest period of awake time may be at the end of the day, before bedtime. If it’s not, that’s OK too! 

Along with keeping an eye on the clock, check for sleepy cues like rubbing their eyes or rubbing their face on you, staring off into space, yawning, or becoming fussy. However, these signs can be fleeting and easy to miss, so we recommend offering sleep if your child has been awake for over 1.25 hours and hasn't shown sleepy signs.

Babies at 5 weeks usually have sleep that’s pretty evenly distributed between day and night due to an immature circadian sleep-wake system. However, it’s not uncommon for little ones to confuse night and day [2] in their first few weeks and want to stay awake for longer stretches overnight. This is referred to as day/night reversal and it typically resolves at around 8 weeks

If you have a little one who’d like to party overnight instead of sleep, try to keep their environment bright and noisy during the day and quiet and dark at night. If possible, avoid stimulating [1] or waking your child when you feed or change them overnight. These tips may help “fix” day/night confusion a little faster. 

We know the newborn period is exhausting and you are likely eager to work on good sleep habits and settle into a more regular schedule. Try to keep realistic sleep expectations in mind, even once day/night confusion resolves. Timing and sleep durations likely won’t have much regularity until 3 - 4 months and that’s perfectly normal, even if you’re doing everything “right.” 

Naps are typically all over the place at 5 weeks — lengths will be unpredictable since babies aren’t born with predictable or organized sleep cycles [3]. One nap may be 30 minutes and the next could be two hours and both would be considered “normal” at this age. 

While it may be hard to plan your day with so much sleep irregularity, consider using your baby’s sleepiness and flexibility to your advantage. Run a daytime errand [2], even if your little one falls asleep on the go. If this is the case, move your infant to a firm surface on their back as soon as possible, in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ [4] safe sleep recommendations. 

A baby's circadian rhythm [5] is still developing in the first months of life, so we don’t recommend trying to follow a sleep schedule or aiming for a specific number of naps at this point. It’s normal to see long and short naps and plenty of wakings for feeds and comfort over a 24-hour period since sleep is influenced by sleep pressure and hunger at 5 weeks.

Is your baby a night owl? It’s normal for bedtime to be on the late side in the first months of life since newborn schedules are still so irregular. A 5 week old’s longest stretch of sleep in a 24-hour period may start at 9:00 or 10:00 PM — or even later. Your little one may be ready for an earlier bedtime (somewhere between 6:00 and 8:00 PM) at around 3 - 4 months

You may get some well-intentioned advice to keep your baby up for longer stretches during the day in hopes of an earlier bedtime and more overnight sleep, but this can backfire and lead to overtiredness. When a newborn baby is too tired, it can be harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep versus if they’ve had adequate daytime sleep.  

5 week old baby sleep FAQ

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

A:

We don’t expect babies to sleep continuously through the night at 5 weeks as they need to wake overnight for feedings and comfort. Newborns should be woken up around every 3 - 4 hours to feed until they’re back to birth weight, have established a pattern of weight gain, and have been cleared by a pediatrician or lactation consultant. Check in with your child’s healthcare provider to determine your child’s specific needs when it comes to overnight feeds.

Q: How often do 5 week old babies sleep?

A:

At 5 weeks, little ones usually need to sleep again after around 30 - 90 minutes of awake time. They won’t have a set sleep schedule at this age, so paying attention to sleepy cues and wake windows are both great ways to determine when it’s bedtime again. Some signs that your newborn is ready for sleep include: getting a glazed look in their eye, looking away from you, or rubbing their eyes. If your child hasn’t shown sleepy cues after around 1.25 hours of awake time, we would recommend offering sleep anyway.

Q: How much nighttime sleep for a 5 week old?

A:

A newborn may be in their sleep space for 9 - 12 hours overnight, though we don’t expect them to continuously sleep for that entire time. At 5 weeks, they’ll need to wake multiple times for feeds and comfort. It’s not uncommon for a baby to have a very late bedtime at this age since they’re not on a predictable sleep schedule until closer to 3 - 4 months.

Q: How much awake time for a 5 week old?

A:

A typical wake window for a 5 week old is around 30 - 90 minutes. It’s normal for awake periods to be shorter in the morning and get slightly longer as the day progresses, but don’t fret if this isn’t the case for your child. All babies are different!

Q: How much daytime sleep for a 5 week old?

A:

While daytime sleep is a bit chaotic for 5 week olds, you may see 5 - 6 hours of sleep spread out over many naps. We recommend paying attention to total sleep in a 24-hour period at this age, instead of focusing on the number of naps or the length of each nap. When determining if your little one is getting enough daytime sleep, take into consideration their mood and energy levels too.

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.

5 Sources

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2024). Safe Sleep Tips for Sleep-Deprived Parents. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/safe-sleep-tips-for-sleep-deprived-parents.aspx

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Reversing Day-Night Reversal. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Reversing-Day-Night-Reversal.aspx

  3. National Library of Medicine (2022). Development of the circadian system in early life: maternal and environmental factors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9109407/

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx/

  5. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (2014). Longitudinal Study of Sleep Behavior in Normal Infants During the First Year of Life. https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/full/10.5664/jcsm.4114