Bedtime Routines

Bedtime is a Nightmare: 6 Tested Tips To Try

Reviewed By

Bedtime is a nightmare? Try these five tested tips to transform your nightly routine and turn bedtime from a nightmare into a dream.

Uploaded on:


Last Reviewed:


Reading Time:

8 min

Table of Contents

It can be difficult to manage nighttime rituals and guarantee a restful night's sleep, particularly for toddlers. For adults and children alike, developing efficient sleep promotion techniques is crucial. 

You can establish a quiet nighttime routine and a suitable environment for good sleep by implementing tried-and-true advice and methods.

Does your bedtime look like this? ⬇️ Don't worry; we'll show you how to cope with it! 🚀

My solution when bedtime turns into a nightmare 

Hi parents! 👋🏼 I'm Wendi Rob, and this is the best mom hack that helps me on difficult nights with my kids!

My toddler daughter has always been hard to put down at bedtime. I saw the storybook app and how combining stories with massages could help, so I thought I’d give it a shot since nothing else has worked.

  • VERY FIRST NIGHT/STORY. Literal magic she was out in under three minutes! My partner was shocked when I came out of her room so quickly as that has NEVER happened before!
  • Second night. IT WORKED AGAIN! I’m in heaven but I need to put it to one more test. Had my mom use it night three at her house where she struggles the most and once again, MAGIC! 😮

My week trial hooked me and I had no issue paying for a year subscription! At 21 months old, my daughter knows what “massage” means now and toddles off to her bed quickly when I tell her it’s massage time at night. She’ll even position herself better depending on the type of massage!

Highly recommend if you have a rough bedtime routine!

Parents! We can do this 🙋🏻‍♀️

Try for yourself how massages with stories can help you with difficult nights with your children ⬇️

Try the app tonight!

Why is bedtime a nightmare?

Bedtime can often become a challenging time for both parents and toddlers, with various factors contributing to the potential for it to turn into a nightmare. Some common reasons for this include:

  • Inconsistent bedtime routines: Inconsistent bedtime routines can disrupt a child's natural sleep patterns, making it difficult for them to settle down and fall asleep at a consistent time each night.
  • Fear of the dark/monsters: Fear of the dark and imaginary creatures can create anxiety and reluctance to go to bed. This fear is a common experience for many children and can significantly impact their ability to relax and fall asleep. 
  • Needing attention at bedtime: Toddlers may seek additional attention at bedtime, leading to prolonged bedtime routines and difficulties in settling down independently. 
  • Medical conditions (e.g., teething, sleep apnea): Underlying medical conditions such as teething discomfort or sleep apnea can contribute to bedtime challenges. 

Teething discomfort can cause increased fussiness and difficulty settling down, while sleep apnea can disrupt the quality of sleep, leading to bedtime struggles.

If your baby wakes up very early, we have this blog for you: baby waking up too early

6 tested strategies for a peaceful bedtime

When it comes to establishing a peaceful bedtime routine, it's essential to consider a range of strategies and techniques that can contribute to a restful night's sleep.

1. Create a pre-bedtime ritual

Creating a peaceful sleep environment can help your toddler understand when it's time to wind down and get ready for sleep. 

A great tip for parents when bedtime is a nightmare is to turn the bedtime routine into a fun activity. 

Rather than simply saying, "It's time for bed," try something like, "Let's dive into a wonderful story together!" You could even add in some massages to help them relax. 

Just like this mom who transformed bedtime battles into peaceful nights for her little one, it's amazing how creativity can make all the difference.

2. Choose a bedtime that works for your child

To make sure your child gets enough sleep, it’s key to pick a bedtime that suits their natural sleep rhythm. Sticking to a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule helps get their body clock on track, making their sleep more regular and boosting their overall health and sleep quality.

Click here for much more info: bedtimes by age

3. Put on some cool white noise sounds

Utilizing white noise, such as gentle sounds of nature or ambient music, can help drown out disruptive noises and create a consistent, soothing background for sleep

If your baby is 5 months old, we have this blog for you: 5 month old sleep schedule

4. Keep dinner close to bedtime

Having dinner close to bedtime can keep hunger at bay and help your child sleep better. Just make sure there’s a little gap—about an hour and a half to two hours before bed—so they have time to digest. A light, healthy meal can set them up for a comfy, restful night.

5. Address underlying fears

Understanding and addressing any fears or anxieties related to bedtime is essential for creating a calming and reassuring sleep environment. By acknowledging and addressing these concerns, you can help alleviate bedtime-related anxiety and promote a sense of security and comfort.

Remember that our StoryBook App has meditations, short stories, massages, and affirmations.

6. Create a sleep-conducive environment

Designing a bedroom environment that is conducive to falling asleep and staying asleep is a key part of promoting quality rest night after night. Factors such as lighting, sound, smell, and visual design play a crucial role in cultivating a relaxing ambience for sleep.

Sleep problems vs sleep disorder

When figuring out your child's sleep issues, it's good to know the difference between sleep problems and sleep disorders. Sleep problems are usually temporary—things like stress, a big trip, or a change in routine can throw off their sleep, but these issues often clear up with some simple tweaks to their bedtime routine.

Sleep disorders, though, are a different story. They're more stubborn and can mess with daily life. Conditions like insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome need a doctor's attention and proper treatment. If your child consistently has trouble sleeping, it might be time to chat with a healthcare professional to see if there’s a deeper issue.

Common signs of bedtime-related anxiety in children

Common signs of bedtime-related anxiety in children can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Resistance to bedtime: When the bedtime routine starts, children who are anxious about going to bed may show a strong resistance to doing so and frequently show signs of reluctance or anguish.
  • Frequent nightmares: Anxiety can impact the quality of a child's sleep, leading to an increased occurrence of vivid and distressing nightmares that disrupt their rest and contribute to bedtime-related anxiety.
  • Difficulty falling asleep: Children who suffer from anxiety at bedtime may find it difficult to go off to sleep, frequently as a result of increased anxiety or dread that obstructs their ability to unwind and go to sleep.
  • Excessive worry or fear: Anxious thoughts and excessive worry about bedtime, sleep, or specific fears such as fear of the dark or monsters can contribute to bedtime-related anxiety in children.

“Anxiety is probably a common cause of difficulties settling to sleep at both the start of the night and overnight. Many children cannot say exactly what is worrying them but may be anxious about day-to-day life in general.”
💡Kids Health

Written By

Francisco Cornejo
CEO Storybook

Francisco Cornejo, a dynamic entrepreneur with a Masters in Communication from RMIT University in Australia, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Storybook. As a serial entrepreneur, he notably served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Honda Motors in Latin America, shaping the brand's regional presence. ‍ Passionate about family well-being and communication, Francisco leads Storybook in its mission to improve children's health globally, aiming to create positive impacts in both corporate and societal spheres.


More Bedtime Routines