Bedtimes, bedtime routines, and children’s sleep across the first 2 years of life

Barbara H Fiese, Tianying Cai, Carolyn Sutter, Kelly K Bost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: The first objective of this study was to determine whether establishing bedtime routines in the first year of life predicts better sleep outcomes (i.e. longer sleep duration, less nighttime waking, earlier bedtime, shorter sleep latency, fewer sleep problems) across the first 2 years of life. The second objective was to determine whether specific adaptive bedtime activities (e.g. book reading) were associated with sleep outcomes. The third objective was to describe changes in adaptive bedtime activities (hug/kiss caregiver, say goodnight to family) across the first 2 years of life.

Methods: Parents of 468 children from the STRONG Kids 2 birth cohort were surveyed about bedtime and bedtime routines, their child’s sleep duration, nighttime waking, sleep latency, and sleep problems at 3, 12, 18, and 24 months of age.

Results: Cross-lagged panel models revealed partial evidence for reciprocal associations between bedtime routine consistency and adaptive bedtime activities and better sleep outcomes over time. Specifically, more bedtime routine consistency predicted less nighttime waking and sleep problems, and more bedtime adaptive activities predicted longer sleep duration and fewer sleep problems.

Discussion: The findings are discussed from a developmental perspective to highlight how consistency of bedtime routines established as early as 3 months of age may affect sleep outcomes and that the adaptive activities associated with these routines may increase in frequency over the first 2 years of life.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberzsab045
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • child
  • bedtime
  • sleep duration
  • sleep
  • sleep disorders
  • toddlers
  • bedtime routines
  • infants
  • pediatric sleep
  • STRONG Kids 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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