18 Month Old Sleep Schedule: The Complete Guide

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 10/19/22 •  11 min read  •  Toddler » Toddler Sleep

Healthy sleep patterns start with a schedule. Here’s how to get your baby onto a regular 18 month old sleep schedule with top tricks to make maintaining it as easy as possible.

How Much Should An 18 Month Old Sleep?

Sample 18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

18 months is a special milestone age and by now your little one will easily be sleeping through the night and having between 1 and 2 naps a day (depending on how busy their day has been).

Here is a sample 18 month old consistent sleep schedule to give you a guideline for how your little one’s day can flow regardless of whether they take 1 or 2 naps:

18 Month Old Sleep Schedule Sample

REMEMBER: This 18 month old sleep schedule is only a guideline and will differ from child to child. The most important thing to focus on is how much sleep your little one requires in 24 hours and work from there.

Nap Schedule For 18 Month Old

By 18 months old, your child will mainly have 1 nap a day but may have 2 naps on very busy days.

To help you schedule a day for your 18 month old, here are two handy quick references for an 18 month old nap schedule regardless of whether they have 1 or 2 daytime naps:

1 Nap Schedule For 18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

1 Nap Schedule For 18 Month Old

2 Nap Schedule For 18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

2 Nap Schedule For 18 Month Old

How Long Should An 18 Month Old Nap?

Your 18 month old should be napping for around 2 to 3 hours a day.

Is 18 Months Too Early For One Nap?

No, 18 months is not too early for one nap.

In fact, most 18 month olds will have 1 nap per day. 

However, on busy days, your toddler may need to have a morning nap to prevent overtiredness later in the day.

Having quiet time in the morning is the ideal way for your toddler to relax and nap if they need it.

How Many Naps Should An 18 Month Old Take?

Your 18 month old will take between 1 and 2 naps a day depending on how busy their day has been.

Bedtime For 18 Month Old

As always, a regular and healthy bedtime routine is essential to your baby’s good night’s sleep as they are proven to improve sleep and reduce nighttime wakings. And for an 18 month old sleep schedule, your baby’s bedtime routine will consist of:

The entire bedtime routine should start between 6pm and 6.30pm and ideally, take no longer than 30 minutes.

REMEMBER: The bedtime routine should follow the same steps and be repeated at the same time every evening to ensure your 18 month old can recognise the signs that bedtime is coming to help them settle and fall asleep more easily. You can use a bedtime routine chart to help your little one know what’s coming up.

What Time Should An 18 Month Old Go To Bed?

For an 18 month old sleep schedule, your little one should be in bed with the lights out by 7pm.

If you want to adjust your schedule to make bedtime a little later you must change your daily nap times accordingly.

But no matter what… your child should not be in bed any later than 8pm to ensure your toddler gets enough sleep to support their brain’s growth and development as well as their physical development.

18 Month Old Sleep Regression

18 months is a very common age for a sleep regression to occur due to developmental factors such as:

Therefore, your toddler may start to resist sleep, wake more frequently at night and struggle to resettle.

For helpful information to manage sleep regressions at this age, read my blog 18 month sleep regression to learn how.

18 Month Old Sleep Tips

Establishing and maintaining an 18 month old sleep schedule will make your day much easier to manage because after all… Everything starts and ends with sleep!

Here are some of my top sleep tips to make creating and maintaining an 18 month old sleep schedule as simple as possible.

TOP TIP: Time spent lying awake quietly in their crib is an ideal way to navigate nap transitions. They may sleep, or they may not but having a quiet period without sleep is better than being busy.

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TOP TIP: If your little one is continually resisting nap time… try lengthening the wake window between naps before dropping the morning nap. Also, remember that during a nap transition your toddler may need to nap twice on some days but only once on others depending on how well they have slept at night and how busy their day has been.

Common 18 Month Old Sleep Problems

The most common sleep problems that your baby may encounter when establishing and maintaining an 18 month old sleep schedule are:

Frequently Asked Questions About An 18 Month Old Sleep Schedule

Looking for more help with creating your baby’s 18 month sleep schedule? Find answers to the most common questions here.

Is 9pm Too Late For Toddler Bedtime?

Yes, 9pm is too late for a toddler’s bedtime.

I would not recommend a bedtime of 9pm for an 18 month old.

Your toddler will not be able to have a healthy sleep schedule if they are going to bed at 9pm and you will not be able to have a child-free evening which helps you relax and reset for the next day. 

Is a 3 Hour Nap Too Long For An 18 Month Old?

No, the occasion 3 hour nap is ok for 18 month olds.

Many 18 month olds will be in the process of transitioning down to 1 long nap per day, therefore most naps will last for 2 hours but some naps will stretch to 3 hours long.

TOP TIP: It is important not to let your little one sleep after 3pm in the afternoon when aiming for a 7pm bedtime… Therefore, you may need to adjust the time you put your toddler down for their daytime nap depending on how long they need to sleep.

How Do I Get My Toddler To Sleep To 7am?

Early morning waking is a common issue for parents of toddlers but there are some things you can do to help your toddler wake up a little later.

Some of the following tips may help.

At What Age Do Toddlers Stop Napping?

The age at which toddlers stop napping varies from child to child.

Most toddlers will completely drop their daytime nap somewhere between the ages of 3 and 4.

For more information on when toddlers stop napping and how to manage the transitions, read my post When Do Toddlers Stop Napping.

Sleep Schedules Further Reading

Here are some more sleep schedules to help you get the most out of helping your little one sleep as best they can.

After all…

Sleep breeds sleep!

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Paula McLaren

Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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