Bedtime starting too late causes 3 main problems:
- Difficulty falling asleep. Once the baby exceeds the natural sleep window the body produces adrenaline to cope. This is often when we see the “second wind”. Getting in front of this is key.
- Multiple Night Wakings. When bedtime is too late cortisol is released and causes poor sleep quality triggering night wakings.
- Early Rising. Sleep begets sleep, a key indicator bedtime is too late is early rising.
Bedtime is based on the quality of day sleep, meaning naps will impact the bedtime start time. Use the below guide to gauge your bedtime. Consistency of bedtime and awake time is important, it helps keep our internal clock set and is an important part of a healthy sleep routine!
CLICK to download our printable Bedtime Chart
|Age||Total Hours of Sleep||Bedtime||Tips|
|Newborn||15 – 18||n/a||
Newborns typically sleep in short cycles of 2-4 hours throughout the day and night.
|1-4 months||14 – 15||8:00-11:00 PM||
At this age they’re still developing and feeding often at night. Bedtime will inch earlier as you approach the 4 month mark.
|4-8 months||14 – 15||5:30-7:30 PM||
Circadian rhythms are developing. Naps should be around 9/noon/3. Bedtime needs to be on the early side of the range if naps are short.
|8-10 months||12 – 15||5:30-7:00 PM||
Nap transition from 3 naps to 2 occurs at this time. Naps should fall around 9/1. To make up for lack of nap 3 lean on early to bed.
|10-15 months||12 – 14||5:30-7:00 PM||
Babies transition from 2 to 1 nap between 14-19 months old, don’t make the mistake of transitioning them to early.
|15 months to 4 years||12 – 14||5:30-7:30 PM||
Hold onto the 1 nap a day for as long as humanely possible. Ideally, up to age 4. Fight hard to keep it and at minimum offer restful awake time. Offset with an earlier bedtime, when nap is dropped they’ll need 1 extra hour of night sleep.