Bedtime routine for Kids and Teens

Does your child wakes up multiple times in the night and is unable to sleep back? Is your child restless, moody or irritated during the day as a result of a lack of sleep? Is he/she unable to focus and feel sleepy during the day? Are they getting the recommended amount of sleep according to their age? Many parents are concerned about helping their children have a sound sleep. Here is the proper bedtime routine for kids and teens which can help them to get rid of their sleep related issues. Let’s dive deeper into it.

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Importance of sleep

One of the most important aspects in your child’s overall growth and a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle is a good night’s “Sleep”. A decent sleep can make a positive impact on your child’s entire day. Kids need to get enough night sleep so they can achieve their necessary growth milestones, play, learn and perform well.

Studies have shown that kids who regularly get adequate amounts of sleep have improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory and most importantly, mental and physical health. Sleep disorder leaves a negative impact on brain development. Most of a baby’s brain development happens during night sleep. 10 days of 6 hours sleep, leads to a 400% dip in concentration. Most of the kids don’t get enough sleep as they are often busy with school, studies, sports and other activities.

Also check, Improper sleep cycle in kids with ADHD and ASD

Sleep chart for kids and teens

When a newborn is introduced to the world, they will sleep all day and night. After 3 months, the baby’s sleep cycle will gradually change as he/she spends more time awake. In this case, you should modify the bedtime routine of your kid. But parents usually don’t know how much their kid should sleep or how often they should take naps. A sleep chart can help parents to keep track of their kid’s sleeping/napping time.

Kids ageNap time
Total Sleep time(Hours)
[Night sleep + Nap time]
0-3 months     –    Newborns7-9 hrs 14-17 hrs
4-12 months   –      Infants4-5 hrs 12-16 hrs
1-2 years        –     Toddlers2-3 hrs 11-14 hrs
3-5 years        –   Preschoolers 1 hr 10-13 hrs
6-13 years     –  School aged 10-12 hrs
13-18 years    –    Teenagers 8-10 hrs

Also check, Tips to improve academic performance in kids

The sleep chart will change according to the age of the kids. Why does sleep time / bedtime routine vary with age? Let’s find more details below

Newborns (0-3 months old)

Newborns are not aware of days and nights. They sleep continuously regardless of the time of day or night, they frequently wake up to eat since their tiny tummy can’t store enough breast milk that keeps them full for a long time. They often wiggle their hands and legs, smile and make sucking noises while sleeping. It is totally normal and they don’t follow any kind of sleep pattern. At the end of 3 months, they will get used to the bedtime routine and will have the longest period of sleep upto 6 hours. 

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Infants (4-12 months old)

After 3 months, babies begin to stop having night feedings and are able to sleep for 6 to 12 hours straight. Although all infants occasionally wake up during the night, they sleep on their own. As your infant has sleep patterns more similar to those of an adult, maintaining an appropriate bedtime routine including morning nap (9 to 10 am), afternoon nap (12 pm to 2 pm) , evening nap (3 pm to 5 pm) and good night sleep is a top priority during this time.

Also check, Teething facts in babies

Toddlers (1-2 years old)

Toddlers may quit their morning and evening nap routine. They normally get up between 6 and 8 a.m. and go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. Your child might start to wake up at night due to separation anxiety. Toddlers may start to have dreams and nightmares because they have trouble differentiating them from reality.

Also check, Nutrition tips for toddlers

Preschoolers (3-5 years old)

Preschoolers will get used to the bedtime routine. Sleep issues are more likely to happen in preschoolers due to postponing/ delaying the sleep time or getting bad dreams. Maintain a consistent bedtime and sleep schedule to ensure that your children are aware of the bedtime rules and be reasonable with how you manage them. 

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School aged children (6-12 years old)

At this age, bedtimes get progressively late due to homework, a busy social life, and time spent on computers and TV.

Also check, Tips to improve concentration

Teenagers (13-18)

Many teenagers don’t get 8 hours of proper sleep. As their school begins early and due to busy schedules, the amount of their sleep time reduces. Their sleep cycle will change itself and the issue is made worse by bright lights emitted by electronic devices, which prolongs the release of sleep hormone (melatonin). Before 11 p.m, most teenagers simply aren’t tired enough to go to bed.

Also check, Link between gut and sleep

Tips for maintaining a proper bedtime routine

Your kid/teen can sleep peacefully if you keep following the below mentioned bedtime routine.

  • Give your baby a warm bath and put him/her into comfortable clothing before bed.
  • Dim the lights and lower the noise level.
  • Breastfeeding, snuggling, rocking, and using a pacifier can help to relax a baby and sleep peacefully.

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  • Give your baby a warm bath and put him/her into comfortable clothing before bed.
  • Dim the lights and lower the noise level.
  • Try massaging your baby’s back
  • Sing a lullaby or speak softly to let your baby know you are there
  • Gently pat their forehead 

This aids your infant in learning to comfort themselves to return back to sleep on their own.

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  • Reduce the morning nap hours
  • If your child resist to sleep, be kind with them
  • Follow bedtime activities like warm bath and telling bedtime feel good stories 
  • Use dim lights and mild music
  • Give them soft blankets for comforting 
  • Give them toys like stuffed animals for their safety

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  • Don’t feed your kid sugary or caffeine rich drinks
  • Don’t allow them to play games in computer or mobile phones and watch television before bedtime
  •  Make sure your child is aware of bedtime boundaries you set.
  • Don’t underestimate their night time fears. 
  • Reassure and soothe your child.

Also check, How to get a sound sleep?

School ageD children and Teenagers
  • Keep the bedroom silent, gloomy, and cool.
  • Let your kid finish their homework and switch off their gadgets an hour before bed. 
  • Mobile devices might be switched off  and kept away from the bed.
  • Avoid watching television or playing video games before bedtime
  • Encourage your kid to take a warm bath or read books before bed
  • Avoid drinking coffee, soda or energy drinks before bedtime.

Also check, Importance of sleep in kids

Foods that help your kids to sleep well


A study published in 2005 in Nutritional neuroscience suggested that consuming tryptophan alongside a carbohydrates source is one of the best ways to treat sleep deprivation. Pumpkin seeds may be small but they are packed with valuable nutrients. They are rich in healthy fats, magnesium, fiber, antioxidants and zinc. If your kid has trouble sleeping, give a few pumpkin seeds before bed with small amounts of carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit. It may be beneficial in providing the body with tryptophan needed for melatonin production, which can lead to better sleep. Also, for younger kids, powdered pumpkin seeds can be an option.

Also check, Other benefits if pumpkin seeds


Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews are often considered to be a good food source for sleep. They contain melatonin (sleep hormone) as well as magnesium, vitamin B6, protein and zinc. Magnesium is helpful in promoting sleep because of its ability to reduce inflammation (body heat). The level of stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep, can be reduced by including nuts in your diet.

Also check, What nuts are easy protein sources?


Chamomile is considered to be a safe and effective way to help a child relax. It’s a dried flower. These flowers are white and yellow and look like beautiful little daisies. Native to Europe and Asia. For centuries, it has been used for medicinal purposes to calm the mind and mildly induce sleep.It Improves relaxation and relieves stress, reduces anxiety, promotes sleep and relieves insomnia.

Also check, Health benefits of chamomile


Lemon balm extracts: A Phytomedicine Compound Improves Symptoms of Hyperactivity, Attention Deficits, and Impulsivity in Children. As per the study conducted by NIH, the fraction of children having strong/very strong symptoms of poor ability to focus decreased from 75% to 14%, hyperactivity from 61% to 13%, and impulsiveness from 59% to 22%. Parent rated social behavior, sleep and symptom burden showed highly significant improvements.

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Pure Cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin which is helpful to improve cognition in studies. Hence, cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children.

Also check, Benefits of dark chocolate


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Immunity, Gut health, Digestion, Weight, Brain development, Speech delay, Epilepsy, Eye health, Hormones, Sleep, Hyperactivity, Bones and Overall growth

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