Best Time to Go to Bed

Best Time to Go to Bed

No matter how wonderful the experience might be being a parent is tough work. There are so many things we have to watch out for, and one of them is making sure our little ones get enough quality sleep.

Vitamin ZZZ is so vital because children go through a significant part of their development when they are asleep. It is as significant as exercise and the right nutrition because at night when the body is in a state of repose, neurotransmitters in the brain act as chemicals, enabling the neurons to communicate. Furthermore, sleep puts the body to rest, relaxing the muscles and allowing for physical growth. If you want something more tangible as proof, then watch a child that has not attained the right amount of shut-eye – their alertness levels are down, and they are cranky with a low attention span.

So, what are the right amount of sleep and the best time to put your little cherub to bed? As with most things, this varies from child to child, depending on their personality and age. The following is a ballpark indication of this:

• Newborn babies (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
• Newborn babies (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
• Infants (4 to 12 months): 12 to 15 hours
• Toddlers (1 to 2 years old): 11 to 14 hours
• Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old): 10 to 13 hours
• School kids (6 to 13 years old): 9 to 11 hours
• Tweens and teens (14 to 17 years old): 8 to 10 hours

Now that we have a better idea of the quantity, we must delve into the nitty-gritty part. This is where your offspring’s personality comes to play. At this juncture, count the hours backward from the time when your child wakes up or needs to wake up to identify the right time for bed.

At this point a small reminder: In the case of infants, their circadian schedule is not yet fully developed, so they do not have the same propensity to distinguish between day and night, hence their penchant to nap during the day when they are tired – this is normal and healthy. But from the toddler onward, regular bed hours are the norm.

The right bedtime in a sentence:

If you have a four-year-old that needs a good eleven hours of sleep and has to wake up so that he or she is at preschool by eight-thirty, the ideal bedtime would be between eight and nine o’clock the previous night. Easy, right?

Not so fast!

For some children, sleep may be hard to come by. The reason is that it can depend on the kid’s age and the corresponding challenges he or she faces at a certain point in their lives. Like for adults, children are confronted with similar stress factors that influence their ability to fall asleep at night.

Here are some sleep hygiene hacks to make bedtime fun and simple:

Pick the right mattress; it makes all of the difference. Some interesting articles published on give a guide on what to look for that way you can wheedle out the right mattress for your child.
Make bedtime a fun routine – Make sure your child knows in advance that it is time to go to bed in say half an hour’s time. If they associate it as a fun moment to connect with their parents, they will gladly go.
A bedtime CD. Many parents swear by this. Some fun and soothing music or a story slowly coaxes those young minds to rest. A bonus is that your child will learn something in the process.
Create the right sleeping environment. Make sure the room is not too bright. Most children love their stuffed animals for comfort. And ultimately, if the kid suffers from anxiety because of bad dreams or the like, use ‘magic’ – imaginary protective pajamas or maybe Ajax the dream tiger – you get my meaning. Symbolism can go a long way.

A final note to help you on your way: No matter what you read remember that a child is an individual that needs a personalized sleep regimen – what works for one person might not work for another.