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A Longitudinal Examination of Bedtime Routines and Sleep in Toddlers

Amanda A Prokasky, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Ample research has examined the impacts of sufficient and high-quality sleep on children’s health, development, and well-being (Chen, Beydoun, & Wang, 2008; Gregory & Sadeh, 2012; Touchette et al., 2009), yet less research has focused on the factors that contribute to sufficient and high-quality sleep in early childhood. The bedtime routine is one environmental influence on children’s sleep that has received little attention in the literature base and therefore is the focus of the current study. In a sample of 399 30-month old toddlers studied over the course of one year, three aims were investigated: the within-age consistency of the bedtime routine on a nightly basis and how bedtime routine consistency impacts sleep outcomes; the longitudinal stability of bedtime routines across time; and the child characteristics, specifically temperamental negative affect, that impact the bedtime routine and sleep outcomes. Five main findings emerged: (a) children experience variability in their bedtime routines when measured on a nightly basis; (b) nightly variability in the length of the bedtime routine is more important for sleep outcomes than is nightly variability in the activities of the bedtime routine; (c) nightly sleep does not impact bedtime routines the following night; (d) bedtime routines are stable across time; and (e) negative affect is not associated with bedtime routines or sleep. The findings from the present study represent a contribution to the field in what is known about the complex interplay between bedtime routines and sleep in young children.

Subject Area

Early childhood education|Developmental psychology|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Prokasky, Amanda A, "A Longitudinal Examination of Bedtime Routines and Sleep in Toddlers" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI27668732.