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  • Jessica Berk

Quickest Way to Improve Sleep Tonight!

Desperately seeking solutions for your child's sleep troubles? Want to make an immediate change that will improve things TONIGHT? You're in the right place! 

Let's dive into a simple-yet-transformative sleep training change that can significantly improve your evenings and your toddler’s sleep.


>>Watch this blog on my Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇


Learning The Sleep Training Secret

This key to improving your child's sleep is surprisingly straightforward and can make a substantial difference. While it's not a cure-all solution, this one simple change is a game-changer in making bedtime more manageable and helping your child sleep longer.

Ready for the secret? 

It's about adjusting the TIME that you put your child to bed.

Many children habitually stay up too late, which is a widespread problem that stems from various reasons:

  • The misconception that once kids are 3 or 4, they can handle later bedtimes like 8:30 or 9 pm.

  • Busy evening schedules, or the desire for kids to spend more time with parents, can delay bedtime.

  • Good old-fashioned stalling by your kid when you try to put them down at a reasonable time.

Putting your child to bed too late has lots of detrimental effects. Children who stay up too late often experience a surge of energy triggered by a rise in cortisol levels. This burst of hyperactivity makes it hard for them to wind down and fall asleep. This cortisol spike can also impact the quality of sleep, causing overnight wake ups. 

You might have noticed this energy spike in your own child. After dinner or during bath time, they seem to get a jolt of energy, leading you to believe they’re nowhere near tired. But this energy jolt is actually a sign of extreme tiredness - overtiredness.

Therefore, the goal is to get your child to bed before this burst of energy occurs. Timing is crucial for peaceful evenings and good quality sleep, which is why I call it the Magic of the Early Bedtime.

Determining Your Child’s Ideal Bedtime

So, how do you figure out what time is the magic bedtime for your child? There are several factors to consider, like:

  • Age of the child

  • How well they sleep through the night

  • Whether or not they still nap and the length of the nap

But here are some good general rules to use for kids from 3 - 6 years old. 

Kids under 6 years old should be asleep before 8 pm. 

Since they typically need 5-20 minutes to fall asleep once the lights are out, you should plan to be done with the bedtime routine by 7:45 at the latest. 

Observe your child closely for signs of sleepiness in the evening. These signs could be quietness, zoning out, reduced interest in play, fussiness or laying down. They can be subtle, so you need to watch closely.

If you have the type of kid that gets hyper at night like I described earlier, look for these signs of sleepiness BEFORE the hyperactivity hits. So, if your child typically gets hyper around 7:30 pm, start watching them closely around 6:30 pm. 

When you see the first sleepy signs, you’ll know that THAT is their ideal bedtime. For most children aged 3 to 6, the ideal bedtime will be between 6:30 and 7:45 pm, with the aim of them being asleep by 8 pm. 

You may be surprised how early you see these signs now that you know what to look for. But if your child has a history of going to be late – 9 pm or later – it’s likely they’re very overtired and need a much earlier bedtime.


Putting on Your Sleep Training Detective Hat

Let’s say your child always seems hyper. 

Like you’re thinking, “Jessica, I’ve watched this kid for signs of tiredness and he doesn’t show any. I swear, he’s NEVER tired!” 

In this case, they could be experiencing chronic overtiredness. See if you can pinpoint a time when their hyperactivity increases. Maybe you’ll notice more fussiness or combativeness at 7:30 pm, for example. 

Then you can set their new bedtime 15 minutes earlier, at 7:15 pm. 

If you can’t see any change in behavior, just pick a time and get started experimenting. 

Two important things to do now that you’ve changed bedtime:

  1. Be consistent. Stick to the new bedtime for at least 5 days to notice changes. You’re looking for positive changes such as quicker sleep onset, longer stretches of sleep overnight and possibly waking up later in the morning.

  2. Keep a sleep log. Days are long, and I promise you won’t be able to remember what happened 3 nights ago. It’s important that you jot down bedtime, how long it took for them to fall asleep, how they slept overnight, and their wake time. Progress may look small, but even 10 minute adjustments will show that you’re on the right track.

And how will you know when you've nailed the magic bedtime?

You’ll know that you’ve found the perfect bedtime when:

1) Your child falls asleep without 5-20 minutes of lights out, and

2) They sleep until at least 6 am.

More Sleep Training Magic

For more details on the magic of the early bedtime, I’ve put together a free resource for you. Visit THIS LINK to download your copy.



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