4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (2024)

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Updated Jul 03, 2024

4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (1)

At 4, your child is likely doing all sorts of exciting things like dressing themselves, helping you in the kitchen, telling stories, climbing at the playground, and more. Along with all of this growing up, they may also be getting ready to stop napping — if they haven’t done so already.

While the prospect of having an active child who doesn’t nap may sound a little daunting, we’re here to reassure you that you can create a sleep schedule that works for your 4 year old and your family. In this article, we also give you a sample schedule that accounts for 1 or 0 naps, suggest age-appropriate bedtimes, and let you know how to best avoid overtiredness as your child’s sleep needs change.

Editor's Note

The recommendations listed in this article represent the average amount of sleep typically needed at 4 years old. However, keep in mind there’s a wide range of normal as some children have lower or higher sleep needs. When we discuss children and sleep at Huckleberry, we use their adjusted age (vs. actual age) which can still impact development beyond toddlerhood.

IN THIS ARTICLE:

How much should a 4 year old sleep?

Sample 4 year old sleep schedule

Naptime schedule for 4 years

Bedtime for 4 year olds

4 year old sleep FAQ

How much should a 4 year old sleep?

We typically recommend aiming for about 11.5 hours of total sleep in a 24-hour period for a 4 year old, which is in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) [1] recommendation of 10 - 13 hours for 3 - 5 year olds. However, there’s a wide spectrum of normal when it comes to children and sleep and these totals should be viewed as guidelines. It’s also important to evaluate your child’s overall mood and energy levels when gauging if they’re getting enough sleep.

Top sleep tip for 4 year olds

At 4, there’s a range of normal when it comes to napping. Some children are still taking an afternoon snooze while others may have already dropped their nap. Here’s a tip for days when your 4 year old doesn’t sleep during the day: Consider adjusting meal and snack times to ensure they don’t wake up too early the next morning due to hunger. You may want to move dinner a little later or add another snack during the day so your child can comfortably sleep longer overnight without rising too early because they’re ready for breakfast. It may take some time for your 4 year old to adjust to 12 (or more!) hours between dinner and breakfast the next morning — this is normal!

Sleep fact for 4 year old babies

If your child is sporadically napping or not napping at all, try offering an earlier bedtime on days they don’t sleep during the day to help avoid overtiredness. When children are overtired, it can be more difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. If your preschooler is not napping at all anymore, it’s likely they’ll consistently require an earlier bedtime to allow them to sleep for around 11.5 hours overnight. Bedtime often falls between 6:30 - 7:30 PM once a kiddo is no longer taking a midday nap.

Sample 4 year old sleep schedule

4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (2) 4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (3)

Morning rise6:30 AM
Rest time12:30 PM - 1:30 PM (1 hour of rest time)
Get ready for bed6:30 PM
Asleep7:00 PM

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

Naptime schedule for 4 years

How many naps for a 4 year old?

At 4, sleep schedules can look different from one child to the next. Often 4 year olds are transitioning away from napping or have dropped their last nap entirely. However, some preschoolers still regularly need a short nap at this age. Keep in mind that every child is different and has unique sleep requirements. There’s a wide range of normal when it comes to moving to a zero-nap schedule — some children will be ready to stop napping at 3 while others may still need a little daytime sleep until around the age of 5. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)[2], 50% of children do not nap at age 3 and 95% of children stop napping by 5.

How long should a 4 year old nap?

If your preschooler is still napping, it’s common to see around 1 - 1.5 hours of daytime sleep. If a nap is longer than 90 minutes, this can often result in shortened nighttime sleep (less than 10 hours) and perpetuate the cycle of long naps, late bedtimes, and shortened night sleep.

If your 4 year old isn’t napping, we’ll aim for around an hour of rest time in place of a nap. Bedtime will likely move earlier too to avoid overtiredness and so they have the opportunity for more hours of sleep at night.

1-nap schedule

4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (4) 4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (5)

Morning rise6:30 AM
Nap12:30 PM - 2:00 PM (1.5 hour nap); 6 hours of being awake before nap
Get ready for bed7:45 PM
Asleep8:30 PM; 6.5 hours of being awake before bedtime

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

0-nap schedule

4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (6) 4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (7)

Morning rise6:30 AM
Rest time12:30 PM - 1:30 PM; 1 hour of quiet time
Get ready for bed6:15 PM
Asleep7:00 PM

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

Do 4 year olds nap? Transitioning to rest time

If your 4 year old is transitioning away from naps or is no longer napping, we highly recommend implementing “rest time” after lunch instead. This designated quiet time can be in their bedroom (or former napping area) and can give your child time to decompress and play independently. Some days, they may surprise you and actually fall asleep! Either way, this stretch of solo time in the afternoon can be beneficial for your child — and for you too.

However, it’s not uncommon for some children to resist staying in their room alone. If this is the case, try spending 10 minutes or so of quality time in their space together before rest time — think of this time as a reimagined pre-nap routine where you’re helping them wind down and get ready for quiet time instead of sleep. Also try offering calming activities (books, toys, audiobooks, sleep stories, etc.) that are reserved only for this special rest period to make it more enticing.

Bedtime for 4 year olds

What time should a 4 year old go to bed?

Children who still nap at 4 will likely have a bedtime on the later side, often between 8:00 - 9:00 PM. This is due to preschoolers needing around 6 - 6.5 hours of awake time before sleeping, which typically results in a late bedtime following an afternoon nap. If your child starts falling asleep later than 9:00 PM on nap days, you may want to consider shortening or dropping the nap. Often a bedtime after 9:00 PM doesn’t allow for enough overnight sleep and results in overtiredness. A late bedtime can also be tricky for the rest of the family, especially if it means less downtime for you in the evenings.

Once your child has dropped the nap, bedtime will shift earlier since their awake window will go from 6 - 6.5 hours to around 12 hours without that midday sleep. This can be a big change for a child! They’ll likely be very ready for bed at an earlier time, often between 6:30 - 7:30 PM.

4 year old sleep FAQ

Q: Can a 4 year old sleep through the night?

A:

Most 4 year olds are developmentally able to sleep through the night. However, some factors may cause preschoolers to wake overnight when they previously had been sleeping through. For example, night terrors and nightmares, bedwetting, welcoming a new sibling, starting a new school, etc. may all be reasons your 4 year old wakes overnight.

Q: How often do 4 year old children sleep?

A:

At 4, your child may or may not be taking an afternoon nap. If they are napping, they will likely take a short (1 - 1.5 hour) midday nap and then have a bedtime on the later side. If your child is not napping, ideally they spend an hour or so of rest time in their room and shift to an earlier bedtime to account for the lack of daytime sleep.

Q: How much nighttime sleep for a 4 year old?

A:

We typically recommend around 11.5 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period for 4 year olds. This sleep may be split between night sleep and one midday nap (usually 1 - 1.5 hours) or happen all at night if your preschooler does not nap. If your child is still napping but gets less than 10 hours of sleep overnight, you may consider shortening the nap or transitioning away from daytime sleep so that they get the rest they need at night.

Q: How much awake time for a 4 year old?

A:

Awake time during the day also depends on your child’s nap schedule (or lack of!). If your 4 year old is napping, they likely need around 6 - 6.5 hours of awake time before their nap and around the same amount of time before bedtime. If they’re not napping, you may expect them to stay awake for at least 12 hours.

Q: How much daytime sleep for a 4 year old?

A:

At 4 your child may or may not be napping. If they are sleeping during the day, we recommend capping the nap at around 1 - 1.5 hours to avoid a very late bedtime (after 9:00 PM) and to preserve overnight sleep. When naps are too long, nighttime sleep is often shortened (less than 10 hours), which can result in overtiredness.

4 year old sleep schedule: Bedtime and nap schedule (2024)

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