Bedtime rituals mark a transition point. Having a bedtime ritual helps little ones transition to bed, feel secure, and develop healthy sleep habits for their lifetime. They even help athletes feel more confident going into a game.

 

Facts on Bedtime Rituals

 

Researchers agree that establishing a healthy bedtime routine can help establish a lifetime healthy sleep hygiene. Published articles on bedtime rituals shows:

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Children (ages 3+) without a consistent bedtime routine obtained less overall sleep.

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On the other hand, a different study indicates that having a regular nightly bedtime routine improves sleep in young children. Starting young and being consistent with your bedtime ritual produces the best the outcome.

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Researchers state that, “language based bedtime routines [meaning readings books, singing songs, or story telling] may have lasting positive benefits for children’s sleep duration and cognitive development.”

reading-iconLast, of many others that I want to mention, research suggests that having a “consistent nightly bedtime routine is beneficial in improving multiple aspects of infant and toddler sleep, especially wakefullness. The study also found IMPROVED MATERNAL MOOD.

Bedtime Ritual Tips

Here are some tips to consider when developing bedtime rituals.

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It is never too late to develop a bedtime ritual. They can happen in any sleep arrangement. When you begin, start your bedtime ritual 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime.

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Also, choose a few activities for your ritual, such as bath, saying prayers, reading a book, or singing a song. Do these things every night, and do them in the same order.

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Stay in one location. Keep coming and going during your bedtime ritual to a minimum.

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Dim the lights in the room, start talking softly, and limit exciting play.  Keep screens, such as TV’s, IPads, smart phones, out of the room. The light from these screens can wake up the child’s brain.

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Be emotionally available for your child. Be there just for them, giving them love, snuggles, and making this a special time. These promote feelings of security and, as a result, better-regulated sleep for your child.

Sources

Mindell, Jodi A., Lisa J. Meltzer, Mary A. Carskadon, and Ronald D. Chervin. “Developmental aspects of sleep hygiene: findings from the 2004 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll.” Sleep medicine 10, no. 7 (2009): 771-779.

Mindell, Jodi A., Lisa J. Meltzer, Mary A. Carskadon, and Ronald D. Chervin. “Developmental aspects of sleep hygiene: findings from the 2004 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll.” Sleep medicine 10, no. 7 (2009): 771-779.

Mindell, Jodi A., Albert M. Li, Avi Sadeh, Robert Kwon, and D. Y. Goh. “Bedtime routines for young children: a dose-dependent association with sleep outcomes.” Sleep 38, no. 5 (2015): 717-722.

Koulouglioti, Christina, Robert Cole, Marian Moskow, Brenda McQuillan, Margaret-Ann Carno, and Annette Grape. “The longitudinal association of young children’s everyday routines to sleep duration.” Journal of Pediatric Health Care 28, no. 1 (2014): 80-87.

Hale, Lauren, Lawrence M. Berger, Monique K. LeBourgeois, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “A longitudinal study of preschoolers’ language-based bedtime routines, sleep duration, and well-being.” Journal of Family Psychology 25, no. 3 (2011): 423.

Mindell, Jodi A., Lorena S. Telofski, Benjamin Wiegand, and Ellen S. Kurtz. “A nightly bedtime routine: impact on sleep in young children and maternal mood.” Sleep 32, no. 5 (2009): 599-606.

Teti, Douglas M., Bo-Ram Kim, Gail Mayer, and Molly Countermine. “Maternal emotional availability at bedtime predicts infant sleep quality.” Journal of Family Psychology 24, no. 3 (2010): 307.