Life with an infant is such a special time, but it can also be exhausting, especially if you and your baby aren’t getting the sleep you need. Knowing when to put your baby to sleep for the night is a key element in a good night’s sleep. We’ve asked a group of moms and professionals whether it’s better to put a baby to sleep early or late. Their answers might surprise you.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
I’m a huge fan of an early bedtime, especially for overtired children. For babies, I normally recommend bedtime between 6:00 – 7:00 pm, depending on their wake time. Babies need somewhere between 11-12 hours of consolidated nighttime sleep each night. If bedtime pushes too late, babies will fall short on these totals because most babies won’t sleep in later in the morning. A normal wake time for babies is between 6:00 – 7:00 am. Also, an age-appropriate bedtime can help prevent overtiredness which can result in difficulty settling into sleep, restless sleep, night wakings, and an earlier morning wake-up.
REM Sleep is Important
I encourage parents to prioritize an early bedtime for their children. The early hours of the night, before midnight, are when children receive the most REM sleep. A night with high levels of REM sleep will create a more restorative sleep period. This restorative, high-quality sleep period is more likely to produce a well-rested child.
It’s also important for parents not to push their children into a state of being overtired. If a child goes to bed too late, their body will produce stress hormones to fight off fatigue. As these hormones rush through a child’s body they can create hyperactivity and alertness, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Avoid an Overtired Baby
It is better to have your baby sleep early, as the most restorative sleep occurs early in the night. When our babies go to bed too late, they miss that restorative sleep and run the risk of becoming overtired. Often, a later bedtime can lead to more night awakenings or early morning awakenings. An early bedtime ensures your little one will be well-rested. Generally, a good bedtime for your little one falls between 6-8:00 p.m., and we err on the side of earlier for our younger babies. Bedtime should be flexible and adjusted as needed with naps taken into consideration.
An Early Bedtime Leads to Improved Mood
I always preferred my babies to sleep early, around 7 pm. This early bedtime gives parents the chance to grab a few child-free hours in the evening to unwind and reconnect. It also allows your baby to be well-rested, which tends to improve their mood.
As time goes on, and your child is ready to start school, this habit of sleeping early and waking up early makes it so much easier to manage the morning routine without rushing.
Quality Sleep is Important for Your Baby’s Health
Babies that are put to sleep early tend to get better sleep. Although it’s not easy to put a baby to sleep early, I always find a way to put them to sleep at a specific time. By doing so, I can assure that my baby gets enough rest, which is very important for their health as they are very prone to sickness. Prioritizing their good-quality sleep puts me at ease that they’ll grow healthy. As we all probably know, sleep plays a vital role for us adults; how much more [vital is sleep] to babies that are still very fragile?
Two Benefits of an Early Bedtime
Sleep is essential for infants and toddlers. By the time they turn two, a well-rested youngster has spent more time in bed than they have spent awake. Circadian rhythm, or the regularity of the child’s sleep-wake cycle, is established by six months of age in most youngsters. It turns out that a good night’s sleep has several advantages.
● Routine is Essential for Children’s Well-Being.
Parents and instructors widely use a relaxing bedtime ritual in classrooms. Young children feel more at ease when they have a clear idea of what to expect. They have a routine when bedtime is set every night. A bath, a tale, some cuddling, and a kiss goodnight are all standard ways to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. Those processes may be skipped or rushed if bedtime is late, resulting in a missed sleepy window, and a youngster who may not be ready for sleep.
● Everyone in the Family Benefits From Early Bedtimes.
Set the proper bedtime for your child’s age, and then start counting down to figure out when supper should be served. Then devise a simple, peaceful routine to ensure that you’ll be able to go to sleep when the time is right. A few months down the road, your child’s resistance will diminish, and they’ll be easier to get along with during the day. It may be a quiet and fun time for you and your kid to get to know each other better when it becomes a habit. In addition, you may be able to spend some time alone with your children before they go to sleep themselves.
Better and Longer Sleep
If a baby is allowed to sleep too late or too early, it is likely that the child will not be able to form healthy sleeping habits and may have difficulty getting enough rest during other times when it is crucial. Not getting enough sleep during the day can lead to irritability and impulsive behavior. It is best for babies struggling with sleep to keep with their natural rhythm whenever possible by following their bedtime routine before naptime or playtime.
With an earlier bedtime, most babies sleep better and longer. Most parents are hesitant to put their baby to bed so early, fearing that they will be awake before sunrise. However, keeping the child up too late backfires more often than not.
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