The best time to put your child to bed!

- Categories : Child Sleep

Making sure that their child sleeps well is one of the biggest concerns for parents! What time should kids go to bed? How many hours of sleep per night is recommended for their age? How to avoid the famous sleep “disorders” so alarming for parents? Sleep is essential for a growing kid and a child who sleeps well is a child who develops well physically and psychologically.

To know everything about the number of hours of sleep your child needs, here are the three things you absolutely need to learn:

How many hours of sleep does my child need?

What time should my child go to bed according to his needs?

How do children's sleep rhythms work in order to optimize their sleep time?

This article also includes a special Sleep Agenda to download to help you track your little one's progress and spot problems!

How many hours of sleep for my child?

Your child's sleep needs change as they grow older. Between 6 months and 4 years, the duration of sleep during the day gradually decreases. During this period, kids often have difficulty going to bed and are affected by nighttime awakenings. Between 4 and 12 years old, the afternoon nap disappears and the bedtime is gradually delayed. It reaches 8 p.m. for 5/6 year olds, 9 p.m. around 8 and 10 p.m. in adolescence.

Age GroupAgeHours of SleepNap hours
Newborn0 - 3 month14h - 17h3h - 10h
Infant4 - 11 month12h - 15h1h - 4h
Baby1 - 2 years11h - 14h1h - 2h
Preschool-age3 - 5 years10h - 13h0h - 1h
School-age6 - 13 years9h - 11h0h - 1h
Teen14 - 17 years8h - 10h0h*
Young Adults18 - 25 years7h - 9h0h*
Adults25 - 65 ans7h - 9h0h*

In fact, there are some very clear signs that can tell you it is time to put your child to bed. Especially if the kid rubs his eyes or ears. Similarly, if your child is cold, they are probably sleepy. At that moment, their bodies synthesize melatonin, which slightly cools the body temperature. Put them to bed when you notice those signs, this is precisely the time when your child will fall asleep the fastest!

What time should my child go to bed according to his needs?

Your child is growing and learning to build their own biological rhythm. They are still very sensitive to changes in the environment and can easily become confused, not knowing they feel tired or in great shape. To help your kid sleep well, it is important to know as well as possible his biological rhythm and the number of hours of sleep he needs. Is your child an early bird or a night owl? Does he need a long nap or on the contrary, a quick one is just enough? What is the impact of the naps at bedtime?

Each human being alternates between moments of restless sleep and moments of calm sleep. This succession of phases is managed by our biological clock and is directly correlated to our body temperature. In general, for a young adult:

- they are most active between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. A decrease in energy occurs between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

- they become intellectually and physically active again between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

- between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., a long phase of fatigue occurs. It reaches its peak between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Of course, we are all different and although the succession of its phases is undeniable, the start and end times of a phase can be very different from one individual to another. As an adult, it is sometimes difficult to regulate our rhythm, so imagine for a child!

Often, many problems and sleep troubles can be solved by regulating naps and putting your child to bed at the best time. For this, it is important to keep a sleep agenda to calculate the hours of sleep your child needs. For a period between 3 and 6 weeks, take note of the times and the length of naps, the bedtime and the wake-up time, and conscientiously note your observations on each night (Difficult or easy at bedtime? Night terrors or nightmares? Angry during the day or on the contrary very calm? )

To help you out, we've created a sleep agenda to print and put on the fridge! A good way to teach your child to better manage their sleep in a fun way. This information can also be analyzed by sleep specialists during a consultation.

Xavier's Sleep Study

Here is the sleep agenda of little Xavier, 3 and a half years old, studied in the book "Sleep, dream and child" (original title: “Le sommeil, le rêve et l’enfant”) by Dr Marie Thirion and Dr Marie-Josèphe Challamel:

We observe on the sleep agenda that Xavier is a difficult child and has trouble falling asleep an hour and a half after the bedtime set by his parents. A very long nap makes the problem worse, and regular short naps lead to night terrors (sleep becomes too deep). The lack of naps is also to be avoided. So thanks to this information, we can take action:

To bring the nap forward at around 1 p.m.

To go to bed every night at 9 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. to still have a long nap in order to sleep calmly

Advice & Tips for sleeping well

Making sure your child goes to bed at the right time is a great reflex. But be aware that other factors also affect the quality of sleep. First, the composition of the meals. For afternoon snack, bet on fruits because they are rich in sugar which will increase the production of melatonin. In the evening, avoid large and heavy meals because they can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Also, avoid proteins and always offer vegetables! After a vacation, your child has probably some difficulties to pick up the pace. Take advantage of the weekends to sleep in. You can also incite your kid to take a nap.

The infographic :

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