The Danger of Irregular Bedtimes

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Protect your child's well-being with consistent bedtimes. Discover the negative impacts of irregular sleep patterns on children's development and behavior.

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Bedtime can sometimes feel like a battlefield. A consistent bedtime is not only recommended, but extremely important for your little one’s growth. It is actually detrimental for your child to have inconsistent bedtimes.As proven by a 2013 UK study of 10,000 children between the ages of 3 and 7, children with inconsistent bedtimes had more behavioral problems. The study compared these children to others with more regular bedtimes.The study published in the journal of Pediatrics confirmed that about 20% of parents said their 3-year old did not have a consistent bedtime. In the journal, the children who reported irregular bedtimes scored higher in areas such as: unhappiness, being inconsiderate and fighting.

This was reported both by the children’s parents, as well as their teachers.The study’s lead researcher, Yvonne Kelly described even a difference of an hour or two between bedtime one night and another as a “social jet lag”. It did not matter if the child slept the same amount of time. The child’s circadian rhythm and hormonal systems were affected.Although, it was proven that the negative effects for inconsistent bedtimes are reversible. When children in the study with inconsistent bedtimes were given a more consistent bedtime, their behavior improved. So, a consistent bedtime is very important and so is making sure your child is getting enough sleep.Your child should be sleeping:

  • 15-17 hours (total) - 0-3 months old
  • 9-12 nighttime hours, 1.5-3 daytime hours - 4-11 months old
  • 9-11 nighttime hours, 1-2.5 daytime hours - 1-3 years old
  • 10-13 hours - 4+ years old
  • 7-9 hours - adultas (18-65 years old)

Tips to help you develop a bedtime routine

If you do not have a consistent and well-established bedtime routine, let us help. Here are some tips to help you develop a bedtime routine:

1. Choose a routine that works for you

Make sure your child is getting enough sleep according to their age and prepare for delays such as tantrums. A pretty standard bedtime routine includes: dinnertime, bathtime, pajamas, a story or massage (or both with Storybook) and lights out. 

If you must drop your child off earlier in the morning, consider an earlier bedtime. The most important thing is consistency. 

2. Bedtime is not a punishment

Explain to your child that our bodies need food, water, and rest to grow. Never use bedtime as a punishment and try to make it enjoyable with a story or massage beforehand. It is a great time to connect with your child. 

3. Set the scene  

Make sure the room temperature is comfortable, as well as your child’s sleeping attire. Some children enjoy white noise or music while they sleep. Many children feel safer sleeping with a plush or stuffed animal too. It is also recommended that screen use be limited at least an hour before bed. 

4. Be consistent

While things don’t always go according to plan, try to stick to your routine as much as possible. This includes when you're traveling or have a sitter. Routines make children feel safe and secure. This is partly due to the fact because they know what to expect (i.e. after dinner comes a bath, after a bath comes pajamas, a story, a massage, then bed). While beginning a bedtime routine might be difficult at first, your hard work will pay off, stick to it. 

Storybook is your bedtime helper with varied infant massage and reflexology techniques, a music library full of sweet lullabies and white noise, poems, guided meditations, information, and much much more! So, don’t only make sure your little one is getting enough sleep, but that they also have a consistent bedtime. It will be hard to ignore the positive results you’ll see with Storybook!


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