How Bedtime Routine Helps Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

Updated May 19th 2022 | timer 5  min read

How Bedtime Routine Helps Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

When it comes to sleep, bedtime is your secret weapon. It helps establish a routine for your baby, develops your baby’s circadian rhythm, and improves overall sleep quality and which is critical for overall health and development.

You may have a few questions about bedtimes and your baby, including, “How does a bedtime help my baby grow?” “How do I set my baby’s bedtime?” and “Why does my baby need a bedtime?”

Here we answer those questions and many more about how bedtimes can help your baby, and you!

For more guidance and expert advice on your baby’s sleep, and how to improve your baby’s sleep, check out the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. We worked with pediatricians, sleep experts, and other parents to create an app that works with your baby’s natural rhythm to help the whole family sleep better.

Why Does My Baby Need a Bedtime?

By setting a consistent and early bedtime, you can ensure your baby gets the sleep they need and help develop your baby’s sleep-wake cycle, also known as their circadian rhythm. Plus, having your baby in bed gives you time to do your thing, too.

Plus, bedtimes help build a routine.

Why Does My Baby Need a Routine?

Routines provide consistency for babies and children, and that consistency provides security. If a baby or child knows what to expect, they feel safe. Whether your routine includes a bath, a song, or cuddles, it helps calm your baby and prepare them mentally for the sleep ahead.

Without a routine or if a routine is missed, your baby may feel uncertain or insecure – feelings that can keep them up at night. Literally. You can help your baby feel secure, and sleep better, by including a consistent bedtime in your pre-bedtime routine.

The Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ offers incredibly effective and awesomely effortless tips on how to create a sleep nourishing bedtime routine for you and your baby.

Do Bedtimes Help Babies Sleep at Night?

Yes, babies who have a reasonable bedtime and routine fall asleep faster and sleep for longer stretches. Also, a baby who falls asleep at a consistent time has better self-soothing skills than babies who stay awake after an ideal time.

Bedtimes also help babies and children in the daytime, too. 18-month-olds who stayed up past their ideal window had lower neurodevelopment than babies who went to sleep during their drowsy window.

There’s also evidence this correlation continues into childhood: researchers followed the grades of British girls from age 3-7 and found those who didn’t have a consistent bedtime performed worse than those who did.

When Should My Baby Go to Bed?

Babies have a drowsy window – a period of time at night when they naturally get tired. Usually it’s between 7pm and 8pm, but every child’s different. Whenever your baby gets tired, aim to set a bedtime in there. The key is to work with your baby’s clock. The same cues should be used for nap time, too.

If your baby seems to be wide awake at night, during an ideal drowsy window, consider moving their afternoon nap up or shortening it . If this still doesn’t work, consult with your physician.

Why Can’t My Baby Just Sleep In?

Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Unfortunately for those of us who want extra zzzs, babies’ internal clocks usually wake them between 6am-7am. In other words, they don’t “sleep in” and will miss that sleep.

Do Bedtimes Help Self-Soothing?

Yes, another way bedtimes help sleep train and build better health: they can improve self-soothing methods. Children who stay up past a recommended time can become overtired and have more trouble falling asleep at night than those who have a consistent bedtime.

They may also wake more during the night and struggle to ‘self-soothe’ to fall back to sleep. Self-soothing is when your baby can fall back to sleep by themselves during sleep disturbances without crying out or waking up fully and babies are typically ready to learn how to self-sooth at around 3-4 months of age.

Do Bedtimes Help Prevent Obesity?

This is interesting: babies with consistent early bedtimes were less likely to be obese, while those who go to bed later are more likely to be obese. In fact, for every sleep hour a baby gains from an early, consistent bedtime starting around 7pm, they’re 26% less likely to be obese.

How Much Should My Baby Sleep?

Your baby’s unique, but the following table shows the typical healthy averages for babies ranging from newborn to 2 years. This chart also includes “acceptable sleep” time, which may be below or above the average sleep for your baby.

Age Average Sleep Acceptable Sleep
0-3 Months 14-17 hours 11-19 hours
4-11 Months 12-15 hours 10-18 hours
12-14 Months 11-14 hours 9-16 hours

To help keep track of your baby’s sleep, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ . Easy to use in-app tools make sleep tracking a breeze and the daily insight reports help you measure progress as your baby’s sleep improves!

Maintaining a consistent, age-appropriate bedtime is essential for your baby’s development. It’s also an incredibly fulfilling bonding experience - a quiet time you, your baby, and your entire family will look forward to bedtime every night!

Sources:

“Influence of sleep-onset time on the development of 18-month-old infants: Japan Children's cohort study,” Brain and Development .

“Time for bed: associations with cognitive performance in 7-year-old children: a longitudinal population-based study,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health .

“Study finds link between sleep habits and weight gain in newborns,” National Institutes of Health.

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