Night-to-Night Variability in the Bedtime Routine Predicts Sleep in Toddlers

Early Child Res Q. 2019;49:18-27. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2019.05.004. Epub 2019 Jun 14.


The present study examined relations between nightly bedtime routines and sleep outcome measures in a sample of 185 toddlers aged 30 months. Parents reported on their toddler's sleep duration and the length and activities included in the bedtime routine each night for approximately 2 weeks. Toddlers wore actigraphs to track their sleep during the same time period. Correlation, mean difference, and regression analyses indicated that toddlers experienced different bedtime routines and exhibited differences in parent reported sleep duration between weeknights and weekends. Multi-level models revealed that variability in the bedtime routine on an individual night most consistently affected parent reported sleep duration on that night. Differences in the bedtime routines between weeknights and weekends also affected actigraph recorded sleep duration and sleep efficiency. Results suggest that keeping consistent bedtime routines between weeknights and weekends is important for optimal sleep outcomes.

Keywords: actigraph; bedtime routines; multilevel modeling; toddler sleep.