How to Shift Baby Bedtime Earlier

  • By: Gian
  • Date: June 8, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Many parents find themselves struggling with getting their baby to sleep at a reasonable hour. However, there are many different methods that can be used to help get your baby to sleep earlier, and we go through our tried and tested favorites.

Once you establish a regular early bedtime, your babies will show little to no resistance, have fewer night wakings, and are generally more pleasant to have around during the day.

When Do Babies Need Bedtime Schedule?

When Do Babies Need Bedtime Schedule?

Babies younger than 3-month old don’t need a bedtime schedule because they don’t follow an internal clock and they can only stay awake for 1-2 hours at a time.

But parents of 3-month old babies can start to get them onto a fixed routine.

Earlier bedtimes are generally better for this age group, as babies that sleep late tend to wake up earlier and become overtired at night. When to Start Sleep Training

What Are the Benefits of an Early Bedtime for Babies?

Early bedtime for your baby has many benefits that will help both you and your little one. These benefits include:

Allows Baby to Sleep for Longer Stretches at Night.

Allowing babies to sleep for longer stretches at night has a number of benefits. It can help them to get more restful night sleep, which in turn can help them to be more alert and energetic during the day. It can also help them to establish healthy sleep habits, which can be beneficial in the long run.

Avoids Overtiredness in a Baby

Avoids Overtiredness in a Baby

Babies should not get overtired because they might then be grumpy, sleep-deprived, and not want to sleep.

It is best for them to get a good amount of sleep every night so they can be happy and healthy.

If you have an overtired baby, read our guide to babies them catch up on sleep.

Prevents the Baby From Becoming Cranky and Difficult to Soothe.

An early sleeping baby is less cranky and easy to soothe because they get the necessary rest they need to be happy and healthy. When babies are well-rested, they are less likely to be fussy and cry more often. This is because they aren’t as tired and therefore aren’t as cranky.

Additionally, when babies get enough sleep, they are able to focus more during the day and be less distracted. This helps them learn new things quicker and retain information better.

It Helps Establish Regular Sleep Patterns.

Babies need a regular sleep pattern to be healthy. Sleeping too much or too little can make them fussy and may affect their health. Babies also need enough sleep to grow and learn.

It May Help the Baby Sleep Through the Night Sooner.

Babies who sleep early at night may learn how to sleep through the night sooner than babies who sleep late hours at night. Putting baby down too late may make them more prone to crying and restless sleep, which can interfere with their ability to learn how to sleep through the night.

Early-night sleepers, on the other hand, may have an easier time sleeping through the night from the start. So if you’re hoping your little one will learn to sleep through the night sooner rather than later, it may be helpful to aim for an early bedtime.

How Early Is Too Early for Baby Bedtime? 

There is no definitive answer to the question of how early is too early for baby bedtime, as every child is different and will have different sleep needs. For instance, 4 to 12-month-old infants need about 12–16 hours per 24 hours including naps or daytime sleep.

Generally, parents should aim to put their baby to bed sometime between 6 pm and 10 pm which is a baby’s ideal bedtime. However, it’s important to remember that a baby’s sleep schedule should be based on how much sleep she needs for her age, not on what time it is.

For instance, a toddler’s sleep needs are different than those of a baby. So, if your baby is showing sleep cues or is tired and ready for bed at 7 pm, don’t try to keep her up until 10 pm just because that’s when you go to bed.

How to Help Your Baby Fall Asleep Earlier

As a parent, you may have already realized that getting your baby to sleep through the night can be quite a challenge. But what about getting your baby to sleep at an earlier bedtime?

If you’re finding yourself struggling with this, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with getting their babies to bed at an earlier bedtime.

Here are a few sleep tips you can do to help your baby sleep at an earlier bedtime.

Gradual Shift Works Best

Start a gradual shift. If your baby is used to going to bed at 8:00 pm, don’t try to put them to bed at 7:00 pm right away. Instead, start by putting them to bed half an hour earlier at 7:30 pm, and gradually move the bedtime earlier. However, putting your baby on a super early bedtime right away can be counter-productive.

Set the Stage for Sleep

Another thing you can do to help push your baby’s bedtime to an earlier sleep schedule is to set the stage for sleep. This means creating an environment that is safe and conducive to sleep. Make sure the room is dark and quiet and that the temperature is comfortable. When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, a white noise machine may help her fall back to sleep.

If your baby takes a nap in the afternoon, watch that early afternoon nap. If it’s too late in the day, it may make it harder for your baby to sleep at an earlier bedtime.

Watch for Sleep Need Changes

Additionally, watch out for nap transitions and adjust your baby’s sleep schedule accordingly. This happens when a baby takes a morning nap and skips a late nap. And if your baby is still taking naps, the last nap shouldn’t go too late in the afternoon.

Keep an eye on your baby’s awakening times. If your child wakes up too close to bedtime, it may be difficult for them to go to bed at an earlier bedtime. You want to make sure that your baby is waking up at least 4 hours before bedtime.

Create Bedtime Routine

Creating a bedtime routine can also help your baby go to bed at an earlier bedtime. This can include things like a bath, reading a book, or singing a lullaby. Doing the same thing every night will help cue your baby that it’s time for quality sleep.

Adjust for Different Needs at Different Ages

Factor in your baby’s age. Parents should establish a sleep schedule around their baby’s age as this determines how much sleep they need and how often parents need to feed them at night. Older babies need fewer night feedings and spend more awake time than younger babies.

If you want to push bedtime to an earlier time, keep it consistent. This means putting them to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. Consistency is key when moving bedtime earlier and to sleep training. If a sleep-trained baby falls asleep on the same schedule, it might lessen the impacts of sleep regression which happens to a baby’s life before she turns two.

How Does Early Bedtime Affect a Baby’s Nighttime Sleep?

It is generally accepted that a young child’s natural circadian rhythm wakes them up early, usually between 6:00 and 7:30 a.m. If babies have a late bedtime, they will still awaken but with less sleep than if they had gone to bed earlier. In fact, babies who have a regular routine including a reasonable bedtime fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.

There are a few things that you can do to help ensure that your baby gets enough sleep at night.

One is by pushing bedtime to an earlier time so that they are tired enough to sleep through the night. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is actually very important.

If your baby is used to having a later bedtime, then you may need to gradually shift bedtime so that they are used to it. You can do this by moving their bedtime up by 15-30 minutes each night until you reach the desired time.

It is also important to create a consistent bedtime routine for your baby. This can include things like giving them a bath, reading them a story, and singing a lullaby. Doing these things each night will help to signal to your baby that it is time to sleep.

Creating a regular bedtime routine and putting your baby to bed early enough are both great ways to help ensure that they get enough sleep at night.

Does a Baby Sleep Longer if They Go to Bed Earlier?

Does a Baby Sleep Longer if They Go to Bed Earlier?

In general, a baby that goes to bed earlier in the evening sleep better, longer, and cries less.

Babies who sleep later have difficulties falling asleep, have many night waking, are restless and irritable when they wake up, and tend to wake earlier because they lack sleep.

However, extremely early bedtime such as those before 6:00 PM are not ideal.

Conclusion on How to Get Baby to Sleep Earlier

If you are considering moving your baby’s sleep schedule to an earlier time, be sure to do it gradually. Start by moving their bedtime 15-30 minutes earlier than usual until you reach the desired schedule. This will help them adjust more easily and avoid potential sleep disruptions. And once an early bedtime schedule has been established, keep it consistent.

If you’re having problems getting your baby to a sleep schedule or if your baby is having some sleep issues, you can talk to professional child sleep consultants for sleep advice.

FAQs on How to Get Baby to Bed Earlier

At What Age Can Babies Have a Baby’s Bedtime Routine?

Most babies are able to start a bedtime routine when they are around 6-8 weeks old. This is important because it will help them get used to sleeping through the night. Establishing a routine will also help your baby feel more comfortable and relaxed, which will make it easier for them to fall asleep independently.

This article was written by: Gian MIller – Full-Time Writer, Baby Whisperer & Dad of 3.

Gian spends a lot of his time writing. A self-proclaimed baby whisperer, Gian has been through it all with his own children and is passionate about sharing his hard-won wisdom with other parents. When he’s not writing or changing diapers, you can find him playing the guitar or watching baseball (or preferably both at the same time).