A 2021 paper describes bedtime routines, and children’s sleep across the first 2 years of life. Bedtime routines are also discussed in Blog Post 10. In this new survey, children were studied at 3, 12, 18, and 24 months.
Bedtime routine consistency was evaluated by responses to questions:
“Adaptive Activities” in the hour before putting to sleep included:
“These activities are typically calming routines that allow a child to transition from a highly arousing environment to a safe and more serene environment that promotes sleep.”
The researchers found that “More bedtime routine consistency predicted less nighttime waking and sleep problems, and more bedtime adaptive activities predicted longer sleep duration and fewer sleep problems.”
It is important to note that some of their results in this study were associated with earlier bedtimes as was observed in other studies (Blog Post 10). The current researchers commented that “We were somewhat surprised by the relatively large range of bedtimes reported by the parents, including bedtimes as late as midnight.” It is possible that the beneficial effects of bedtime routine consistency and bedtime adaptive activities are lessened when the bedtimes are too late (Blog Posts 7, 68–70 and 74).
Conclusions from this study and Blog Post 10:
More frequent Bedtime Routines per week, more Bedtime Routine Consistency, and Adaptive Activities at Bedtime help children sleep longer at night with fewer night awakenings. It is possible that these activities are especially powerful when coupled with early bedtimes.