What Is a Good Bedtime Routine? Tips for Establishing a Good Bedtime Routine Update 05/2024

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of Americans do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Creating a nighttime routine is one of the simplest ways to get a better night’s rest. It’s easy to include bedtime rituals into your daily routine to help you wind down.

What Is a Bedtime Routine?

Bedtime routines are an orderly sequence of activities that you complete in the 30 to 60 minutes before going to sleep every night. A warm bath, reading, writing, or meditating can all be part of a good night’s sleep regimen.

Why Are Bedtime Routines Important?

Habituation is ingrained in us as a species. To help our brains know it’s time to sleep, we need to establish a nighttime routine like any other routine. When you go through the same motions every night, your brain learns to associate them with the end result of the day: sleep.
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Late-night anxiety and stress can be reduced by adhering to a regular bedtime routine, which can help you sleep better at night.

As a result of worrying, your intellect and sympathetic nervous system are activated to the point of overreacting. Insomnia can set in if these thoughts aren’t addressed. Maintaining a nightly routine allows you to de-stress by focusing your attention on something else rather than getting ready for bed.

Routines for winding down at night have their roots in childhood. Consistent bedtime routines have been demonstrated to help soothe both infants and their parents, allowing them to sleep better and wake up less frequently at night because of the benefits they provide.

Routines at bedtime assist youngsters in establishing healthy sleep habits, establishing a connection with their circadian rhythms, and teaching them relaxation techniques. Many other aspects of children’s lives, including memory, mental health, and attention, have been demonstrated to benefit from consistent bedtime practices.

Adults’ nighttime habits are just as vital as those for children. Routines for getting ready for bed can help your mind and body unwind from the stresses of the day and drift off to sleep.

What Are the Benefits?

A bedtime routine is a sequence of actions performed before going to bed on a regular basis. They aid in the relaxation and winding down of your youngster in preparation for sleep. In addition to providing your child with a sense of security, sticking to a pattern helps them learn to fall asleep on their own.

Bedtime routines can help youngsters go asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up less times during the night if they are followed, according to new research. Children who had bedtime routines as babies and toddlers are still reaping the benefits years later.

Bedtime routines not only help your child sleep better, but they also teach them self-care and build the foundation for future development of cognitive abilities such as working memory and attention. They may also improve mood, stress levels, and behavior by fostering parent-child bonding.

In the long run, these advantages translate into improved academic and social abilities, as well as a better sense of self-confidence. To the contrary, those who do not adhere to a bedtime regimen as a youngster are more likely to suffer from slumber issues and gain weight as adults.

It’s simpler to maintain healthy habits in your child as they become older if you establish a sleep routine for them from the beginning.

How To Build a Bedtime Routine for Kids

Kids’ nighttime rituals typically include three or four actions, such as eating a snack, brushing their teeth, putting on their pajamas, and reading a book before falling asleep. The order in which these are completed is critical. In the hours leading up to bedtime, dim the lights and turn off the screens to help you relax even more.

Sleep-inducing bedtime activities include reading, listening to music, and exercising.

  • Snack or bottle/breastfeeding that is high in nutrients.
  • Take a bath or change your child’s diaper.
  • Going to the bathroom and brushing your teeth are two of the most basic daily activities.
  • I’m engrossed in a book.
  • Singing a lullaby or a song together as a family.
  • Involvement in activities such as snuggling, rocking, and massage.
  • discussing the events of the day.

The end of the bedtime process should be a kiss goodnight and turning out the lights. When your child is drowsy but not yet sleeping, you should leave the room. As a result, they’ll be less likely to fear if they wake up in the middle of the night and discover their parents still there. Establish a regular bedtime for your child so that they may get the required number of hours of sleep for their age.

What Is a Good Bedtime Routine For Adults?

It’s time to start planning your fantasy nighttime ritual. Use any or all of these 10 suggestions.

1. Decide on a Set Bedtime.

Your brain begins preparing for sleep a few hours before you go to bed as part of your normal sleep-wake cycle. You can use your bedtime ritual to enhance the effectiveness of the approach. To begin, pick a regular schedule for going to bed and waking up each day and stick to it. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule teaches your brain to become weary naturally at bedtime.

Begin your bedtime ritual at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep each night. You can use an alarm clock if necessary.

2. Leave the Electronics Alone.

Contrary to popular belief, watching your favorite Netflix show or browsing through Instagram is not a good way to unwind. There is a lot of blue light coming from electronic gadgets such as computers, televisions, smartphones and tablets. When you utilize these devices, your brain is tricked into believing it’s sunlight because of the blue light they emit. So, in order to stay awake, your brain reduces the creation of melatonin.

Make sure you don’t fool your mind. Begin your nighttime ritual by saying your goodbyes to all of your technological devices. Avoid using electronic devices in the evening if you can. Turn on your phone’s red-light filter well in advance of starting your sleep routine so that you won’t be as disturbed if you accidently glance at it.

3. Have a Light Snack or Bedtime Tea.

If you eat or drink too much before going to sleep, you may suffer from indigestion, acid reflux, and nocturnal bathroom breaks that disrupt your sleep. Even if you’ve had a good meal, going to bed hungry can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

A slice of fruit or some yogurt can help you find a happy medium by soothing your tummy. Melatonin-rich foods include cherries, grapes, strawberries, almonds, and oats. Herbal teas, particularly those containing chamomile or lavender, are another good method to relax and fall asleep. Before you go to sleep, make sure you use the restroom.

4. Take a Warm Bath.

Our bodies go through a variety of hormonal changes during the day as part of our circadian rhythm. In the evening, your body produces melatonin, which helps you go asleep. Your core body temperature drops at the same time.

Researchers have discovered that taking a warm bath at night can elicit the same drowsy effects as the natural drop in body temperature that occurs during sleep. You may want to take a warm bath approximately an hour before you go to bed. You will feel drowsy and calm as your body heats up from the water and cools down quickly as the water evaporates.

5. Listen to Music.

Sixty-two percent of respondents report listening to music before going to bed. So long as the music soothes you, it doesn’t matter what type it is. Relax and de-stress by closing your eyes and listening to soothing music.
Bedtime Routine Poster | Printable Resources for Kids

Other types of audio, such as white or pink noise, ambient sounds, and relaxation music, may also be beneficial for sleep. Sleep studies have indicated that pink noise, such as rain or ocean waves, can increase sleep quality, while white noise might hasten sleep by concealing other sounds. Spotify and smart home devices like Alexa include playlists for various kinds of white noise.

6. Stretch, Breathe, and Relax.

Deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) can help you calm your body and mind by allowing you to pay attention to your physical sensations and breathe deeply. Preventing cramps by doing some easy stretches or massage before bedtime has been demonstrated to improve sleep quality.

Yoga, stretching, and breathing exercises can go a long way in helping you fall asleep.. Add whatever works best for you to your nightly regimen.

7. Practice Meditation.

Meditation, like yoga, can help you get a better night’s rest. Mindfulness meditation allows people to allow their thoughts and control their emotions, allowing them to go asleep rather than worrying about it.

Simply closing your eyes and allowing yourself to be aware of your thoughts and feelings is all it takes to begin practicing mindfulness meditation. Observe, but do not criticize, your thoughts. Other techniques of meditation include deep breathing and visualizing. Many guided meditation exercises can be found for free on smartphone applications or on YouTube.

8. Read a Good Book.

Every child’s nighttime ritual includes reading a book. As a part of their bedtime ritual, parents frequently read to their children.

Avoid stimulating genres like mystery and action as bedtime reading material for adults. It’s possible that the best book is one with a dull, uninteresting plot.

9. Write Down a To-Do List or Journal.

Journaling can be therapeutic for some people, especially if they do it in the evening before going to bed.

Start by writing a simple to-do list if you’re intimidated by the thought of journaling. One study found that writing down a list of things to do in the next few days before going to bed greatly accelerated the beginning of sleep.

10. Prep Your Bedroom.

Invest some of your night ritual in creating a sleep sanctuary in your bedroom. Make it a point to create an atmosphere that is as dark, chilly, and serene as possible.

Make sure the temperature is between 60 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off any obnoxious technological devices before you begin. Pull down your blackout drapes and turn down the lights. Remove clutter by putting stuff away. Aromatherapy diffusers allow you to enjoy the aroma of your choice.

Bedding down is the final step in your bedtime routine. You should do this towards the end of the day, and once you’re in bed, do nothing but try to sleep. That’s all you need: for your brain to recognize your bed as a haven of rest.

Bedtime Dos and Don’ts

Your child’s sleep may suffer as a result of engaging in certain activities. Of course, each child is unique, and it may take some trial-and-error to discover what works best for you and your family. But when it comes to creating your child’s sleep routine, adhere to the following:


  • Follow the same steps each night: Children’s bedtime routines should include the same steps each night, or as many as possible. As a rule, it’s best if both parents engage in the child’s bedtime routine.
  • Make it quick and easy: Most children’s bedtime routines should last no more than half an hour, or a little more if a bath is involved. Adding more time to your bedtime routine can make it more difficult to stick to on days when you’re pressed for time.
  • Maintaining a schedule throughout the day helps young children sleep for longer periods of time because it teaches them boundaries and helps them stick to them. Sleep better at night if they get enough of physical activity and exposure to natural light during the day.
  • Pay attention to what your youngster has to say: Despite the fact that you’re in charge, it’s a good idea to give your youngster some freedom. Pay attention to your child’s worries and make any necessary adjustments to the nighttime routine if something doesn’t seem to be working for him or her.
  • Sleep hygiene guidelines should be adhered to: To help you get a good night’s sleep, keep the room dark, cool, and quiet. If your child is afraid of the dark, try using a soft nightlight to ease his or her anxiety. Once the kids have gone to sleep, it’s important to keep the rest of the house as quiet as possible to avoid waking them up in the middle of the night.
  • Consider delaying changes to the nighttime routine if there are other changes taking place, such as relocating or starting school, in order to avoid disrupting the child’s sleep. Each night, alter your child’s bedtime by 15 minutes to accommodate his or her changing sleep requirements.


  • It’s easier for kids to sleep better if they’re already weary, so start the bedtime routine as soon as they’re starting to yawn.
  • Use screens: Blue light from television and other electronic gadgets might disrupt sleep if used too soon to bedtime. Let children use screens.
  • You should allow your child to run around during the day, but don’t allow them to get too riled up at night because they won’t be able to sleep.
  • If you’re going to provide sweets or caffeinated beverages, make it light and nutritious. The combination of caffeine and sugary snacks before bedtime can lead to cavities in children. Caffeine can be found in breakfast cereals, chocolate, and pudding. Remove the bottle from your baby’s mouth before they go to sleep if they are bottle-fed.
  • Read spooky stories to your children before bedtime: Avoid reading scary stories or engaging in other stimulating activities before bedtime.
  • Even though it’s tempting for parents to let their children sleep in on weekends to make up for lost time during the week, this can actually make it more difficult for them to wind down for bedtime during the week.

Tips for establishing a baby bedtime routine

Time it right

Keep a sleep diary for your infant, noting the lengthiest snoozes. Keep in mind that if your kid sleeps for more than five or six hours straight at a time, you’re doing well. Make a point of observing your baby’s sleep behaviors, like as wiping his eyes or yawning, so you can put him to bed when he’s just about to nod off, but not yet exhausted.

Try to begin a pre-sleep routine 30 to 45 minutes before your baby’s natural drop-off time, as soon as you can figure out how long he sleeps at night. Start a bedtime ritual at 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. if he tends to sleep the longest between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.
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Put your child to sleep in the same place

Sometimes, babies fall asleep in their strollers and car seats. When your baby is a few months old, you can begin putting him to sleep in his bed at the same time each night, even for naps. Even if you’re only trying to help your baby have a better night’s sleep, it’s crucial in reducing the chance of SIDS (SIDS).

That’s why it’s best to avoid running errands during a baby’s nap. It’s imperative that you get him to bed as quickly as possible in the event he does fall asleep in his cot in transit.

Create the right atmosphere

Set a calm mood by dimming the lights, closing the blinds or curtains, turning off the television, and putting away your cell phone.

Try to master the drowsy baby drop-off

Put your sleepy baby down when he’s drowsy but still awake at the conclusion of your baby’s bedtime routine. In this way, he will become accustomed to falling asleep on his own, rather than in your arms.

No matter how many times you’ve tried, you’ll never get it right the first time with a sleepy baby. Keep trying if you don’t succeed the first few times! When your kid finally falls asleep on his own, you’ll know you’ve done something right.

Adjust as necessary

Snuggles and a lullaby, followed by a quiet story, may be all that’s required in the beginning of your baby’s bedtime routine.

Remember that your baby’s needs will change over time, so be prepared to make adjustments as necessary.

For example, bathtime before bed may get more raucous as your child grows older. Move bath time earlier in the routine, and save the more soothing tactics, like a story or a baby massage, for later in the evening.

Keep it consistent

Preparing for bed should be done in the same way every night. As a result of the comfort that consistency provides, it is easier to get your infant to sleep at night.

Create a shorter nap routine

You can assist your baby transition to sleep by shortening his nightly ritual into a naptime routine that reinforces his sleep cues.

How Long Should My Bedtime Routine Be?

Between 30 and 60 minutes should be allotted to your bedtime regimen. This will allow you to relax and not feel rushed. Consistency will help you sleep better and be more productive the following day.

One study indicated that youngsters who had a regular nightly routine showed an overall improvement in their moods. If you incorporate this into your adult night ritual, you should notice an improvement in your emotional and mental well-being.

Create a nighttime routine to help you wind down and end the day more peacefully. Take a good night’s rest on your nice bed with your favorite pillow after you’ve taken some time to unwind.


When should you start a bedtime routine for baby?

As soon as you bring your newborn home from the hospital, don’t force yourself to institute a sleep schedule. After all, he and you both have to recuperate from the exhaustion of birth! In addition, babies lack the ability to discern the difference between day and night.

You can begin a nighttime routine for your infant as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age.

A cuddle and a quick read from an age-appropriate book should suffice at the outset.

My child twitches as they fall asleep. What’s happening?

It’s possible that your child’s twitches are “sleep beginnings,” which are small movements of the arms and legs that occur as they begin to sleep. As many as seventy percent of toddlers and adults experience sleep onset. Sleep deprivation, stress, and exhaustion can exacerbate symptoms, therefore it may be worthwhile to investigate your child’s sleep patterns. Check with your doctor if the jerks are frequent or if there are more than just a few fast movements.

Why do I have to wake my school-age child for school?

Your child may not be receiving enough sleep for their age if you have to wake them up every morning. If they receive adequate sleep, most children in elementary school are able to wake up on their own in the morning. If you’re concerned about your child’s sleep patterns, have him or her checked out by your family doctor.

My child snores and gasps at night. Should I be worried?

Any number of illnesses, including the common cold and stuffy nose, can contribute to loud snoring. Once the cold has passed, things should be back to normal.

It could be an indication of obstructive sleep apnea if your child’s snoring persists even when he or she is healthy. Sleep apnoea can cause your child to cease breathing for short times while they are asleep. If your child snores, stops breathing during sleep, struggles hard to breathe, breathes through their lips, tosses and turns at night, or sweats a lot during the night, you should see a GP immediately.

When should a child stop napping? How long should a nap be?

By the age of three, around a fifth of youngsters had stopped napping. 3-4 years is another half-stop. If they’re receiving adequate sleep at night, most children quit napping by the age of five. Between 30 and two hours, naps are possible.

A short snooze after lunch may help ease your child’s nighttime woes if you’re having trouble getting him or her to go to sleep. Try to offer your child some quiet time in their room if they won’t take a daytime nap. If it doesn’t work, try having your youngster read to themselves or look at picture books with you.

What does it mean if my child wakes up grumpy?

The most likely cause of your child’s grumpiness in the morning is a lack of sleep the night before. Even if your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep for their age, he or she may still wake up cranky if the quality of their sleep is poor. The GP should be called if you notice your child snoring or being very restless at night.

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