The science behind creating a nap and bedtime routine

 By Maggie Moore

Struggling to find the best routine for nap and bedtime for your little one? Wondering when is the best time is to implement a routine into your little’s life? Don’t fret, I’ve got you covered.

Research shows that a consistent bedtime routine is associated with better sleep outcomes, including earlier bedtimes, shorter sleep onset latency, reduced night wakings, and increased sleep duration.

Children thrive on routine and boundaries, which is why it is SO important that we begin to establish a routine around both nap and bed times as young as six to eight weeks of age. 

For the past three years I have been reading the same book to my son every night before bed. (I now have it memorized by heart.) For just as long, I have been singing the same song to him before his naps. These are great cues to let him know what is coming next – nap or bed time.

Establishing routines such as these also helps with separation anxiety as baby gets older. If from the beginning we establish what baby should expect at nap and bedtimes, they will feel safe and secure in knowing what is to come when they lay down to sleep. 

Naptime routine:

  • 10 to 15 minutes before naptime go to your little one’s room and dim the lights
  • Change diaper
  • Turn on white noise and make sure curtains are shut
  • Sway, rock, bounce next to their crib or bed
  • Sing the same song each nap time (one to two times)
  • Lay little one down in their crib or bassinet

Bedtime routine:

  • Begin bedtime routine 30 minutes before bedtime
  • Feed outside of little one’s room to further separate the feeding to sleep association
  • Bath (this is another good cue to add into the routine to help distinguish nap and bed time routine)
  • Change diaper, jammies
  • Read two to three books (as another good cue to let little one knows what is coming next, keep the last book of the night the same each night)
  • Lay little one down in their crib or bassinet


From the very beginning, routine plays an integral part in helping to establish a healthy sleep foundation. It takes time for baby to understand, but establishing a routine with cues at six to eight weeks will help set your family up for future success! 


Maggie Moore is the Founder and Head Sleeper at Moore Sleep. She is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Family Sleep Institute, which means her sole focus and objective is getting your baby on a healthy sleep schedule so the whole family can get the sleep they need.

Like many parents, Maggie and her husband struggled with getting their son on a healthy sleep schedule and he was unable to fall asleep independently. As a result, her family was losing precious sleep every night.


Maggie became a firm believer when, shortly after hiring a certified pediatric sleep consultant, her son began sleeping independently at bed and nap times. It was a turning point that resulted in not only restful nights, but waking up fully rested with the energy to face the day. Maggie knew right away she wanted to become a certified consultant herself so she could help other families struggling to get the sleep they need.


Maggie and her family reside in Southern Indiana (near Louisville, KY). She received her bachelors in Journalism and a second concentration in Communications & Culture from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Follow Maggie on Facebook and Instagram.

1 comment

  • Diana

    What if baby’s bassinet is in parents’ room, but everything else for the sleep routine is in baby’s room?

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