Strategies to Adjust Late Night Bedtimes: Getting Your Baby to Sleep Before 11 PM

Every parent has experienced the struggle of getting their baby to sleep at a reasonable hour. Late-night bedtimes can be stressful for both the parents and the baby, leading to sleep deprivation and difficulties in daytime functioning. Adjusting your baby's bedtime to an earlier hour is not only beneficial for their health and development but also allows for some much-needed rest for the whole family. In this article, we will explore effective strategies to help transition your baby's bedtime to before 11 PM.

Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep Needs

Before making any changes to your baby’s nighttime routine, it’s crucial to understand their sleep needs. Babies require a lot more sleep than adults—newborns may need up to 17 hours of sleep per day, while infants up to one year typically require about 14 hours of sleep. This total includes several naps during the day in addition to a longer stretch at night.

Establishing a Consistent Routine

Consistency is key when it comes to adjusting your baby’s bedtime. Establishing a predictable bedtime routine helps signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. A routine might include a warm bath, a gentle massage with baby lotion, dressing in pajamas, dimming the lights, and reading a bedtime story or singing a lullaby.

Ensure that you start this routine at the same time each evening to help set your baby’s internal clock to a new bedtime. Gradually adjusting the start time of your routine can be more effective than making a sudden shift.

Creating a Sleep-Conducive Environment

The environment in which your baby sleeps significantly influences their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Here are several factors to consider:

  • Noise: A quiet, calming environment is essential. Consider a white noise machine if your home is prone to noise.
  • Light: Dimming the lights before bedtime helps increase the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Blackout curtains can be especially effective in creating a dark and restful environment. For instance, Sleepout’s Home Blackout Curtains are designed to block out 100% of light, making them ideal for a baby’s bedroom.
  • Temperature: The ideal temperature for your baby’s room should be slightly cool, around 68-72°F (20-22°C).

Mother and baby by Sleepout curtains

Adjusting Daytime Naps

Anther crucial aspect to consider is daytime naps. If your baby is having difficulty going to bed earlier, look at their daytime sleep patterns. An overly long or late nap in the afternoon can push bedtime later into the night. Here are tips for adjusting naps:

  • Gradually reduce the duration of late afternoon naps.
  • Try not to let naps extend past 4 PM, as this can interfere with nighttime sleep.
  • Keep morning naps consistent to avoid overtiredness, which can lead to crankiness and more difficulties at bedtime.

Using Light to Your Advantage

Natural light plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythms. Exposing your baby to natural light during the morning and early afternoon can help reinforce their internal clock, making it easier to shift bedtime earlier. Ensure that during daytime hours, your home is well-lit, ideally with natural light. As evening approaches, reduce light exposure to promote drowsiness.

Monitoring Food and Drink

What your baby eats and drinks in the hours before bedtime can affect their sleep. Here are some considerations:

  • Avoid giving your baby any caffeinated foods or beverages.
  • Ensure that your baby isn’t going to bed either hungry or too full. Their last big meal should be at least an hour before starting the bedtime routine.
  • If your baby is already on solids, a balanced dinner with slightly higher amounts of carbohydrates can promote sleep.

Being Patient and Flexible

Adjusting a baby's bedtime doesn't happen overnight. It requires patience, persistence, and flexibility. Pay close attention to your baby’s sleep cues and adjust the routine as needed. It may take several weeks to find a rhythm that works well for both you and your baby.

Baby sleeping comfortably


Moving your baby’s bedtime to an earlier hour can seem daunting, but with the right strategies and a bit of patience, it is entirely achievable. Remember to observe and adapt to your baby's needs, maintaining flexibility in your approach. By creating a consistent routine, optimizing the sleep environment with tools like blackout curtains, and adjusting daytime naps, you'll set the stage for better night sleeps that benefit the entire family.

For more information on creating the perfect sleep environment for your baby, consider Sleepout's blackout curtain solutions, designed to facilitate a restful night's sleep for even the most sensitive sleepers.

Mother installing Sleepout blackout curtains

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