When is bedtime?

Bedtime can either be as easy as tucking your kids in or as nightmarish as walking up and down for an hour rocking a baby to sleep. But if there's one thing most parents swear by is a good bed time routine and an early bed time. A late bedtime could lead to a number of sleep problems such as:

Difficulty falling asleep

When your child misses their "sleep window" the body starts to produce stimulants such cortisol and adrenaline, often resulting in what parents like to call 'a second wind'.

Night waking

The cortisol that was produced after your child missed their "sleep window" means that their quality of sleep is poor resulting in waking up through out the night.

Early morning waking

Contrary to popular belief, if your child goes to sleep later they don't always wake up later. Sometimes they wake earlier than they should! That means they get less sleep than they need.
At different ages in their lives your children are going to need more or less sleep. Or rather, can operate throughout the day on a certain number of hours of sleep.

Newborn babies have not developed circadian rhythms yet. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in a person’s environment. Newborns typically sleep in 2 to 4 hour spurts throughout the day and night and do not need a bedtime or routine yet.

As they grow older their circadian rhythms kick in and they have regular naps during the day. They also have a bedtime of anywhere between 17:30 and 19:30. Toddlers and preschoolers

As they enter the toddler years, they tend to drop their naps either completely or maybe having one a day. Bedtime should be on the early side to accommodate for grumpiness. 

School- going

School going kids are experiencing a lot of growth and they are very active during their days. Especially with all the extra-curricular activities and homework they get (teaching your brain new things is tiring too!). Getting enough sleep helps with school performance, behaviour, attention and memory. An appropriate bedtime would be between 19:00 and 20:30.


Teens can handle a later bedtime but still need to be up early for school. Sleep will help them perform better at school. Nothing later than 22:00.

We asked our Facebook fans what time they sent their kids to bed:

My 20-month old goes to sleep at 21:00. If I'm lucky. - Lilla Friend

My 1 year old - 20:00 - Samantha Myburgh

19:00 - they're 3 and 6 - Shantelle van Niekerk

My 8 year old daughter goes to bed between 19:00 and 19:30 - Claire Kunene KaNjoms

6 year old 19:00 with a story/bible reading. 19:00-20:00 sound asleep. 6am wake up for school. 10 years 20:00. 20:00 I allow my 6 year old in the holidays and weekends. Holidays 20:00/21:00 for the oldest one but then she sleeps till the same time 8am/9am. Depends on how active they are. - Tanya De Jager

Toddlers from 2 years to ages 8 years is 19:00 latest. 9 years to 10 years is 19:00 but latest 20:00. 11 years to 12 years 20:30 to latest 21:00. - Rosalind Goosen

19:00 for the 6 year old, the 8 year old can read in his room until 20:00. - Jenni Martin Lawrence

4 year old and 22 month old to bed between 20:00-21:00. Both wakes up between 6-6:30 am. 22 month takes 1-2 hour nap during the day. - Felicia Erasmus 

Read more of their answers.

For more on sleep issues:

How many sleep in your bed? 

How many hours should a child sleep? 

Sleep Training 101 

Starting to sleep alone 

Tired dad invents nap app 

Does your child sleep through the night 

Sleep problems, suicidal teens 

Sleep training for wimps 

What time do your kids go to bed?

Join the conversation with Parent24 on Facebookand on Twitter.

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