Mother and Baby

Are You Putting Your Toddler To Sleep Too Early?

Section: Sleep

The lights off at 7pm rule could be the reason your toddler is more tired, says new research

So you’ve finally got your toddler’s sleep routine down, but come 9pm he’s walking into the living room. Again. Sound familiar? Turns out, early bedtimes may be making him resist the ZZZs and more likely to be restless at night, says a new study by the University of Colorado.

The study, published in the journal Mind, Brain and Education reveals that the best time to put your little one to bed varies between children. That’s because the sleep hormone melatonin rises at different times and kids with a later melatonin increase are in bed too early and could therefore be lying awake for hours.

‘Putting your toddler to bed when they’re not ready will only make him more restless,’ says sleep expert Dr Michael Oko from the Sleeping Disorders Centre. ‘Children need to unwind beforehand, if they’re not ready they can get agitated and it’ll mean a disrupted bedtime routine for both of you.’

To encourage more kip, turn off the TV and dim the lights a little while before bedtime. ‘A warm drink, like milk, will help him feel sleepy, too.’ Says Michael. ‘Most importantly, don’t worry too much if his routine isn’t running like clockwork, be flexible.’ Every now and then you might get a small visitor in your bed in the small hours and that’s totally OK.

Need some more pointers? Follow this dream sleep plan

Share your toddler sleep tips below…


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