Does your baby have a dai­ly rou­tine like a teenag­er? He goes to bed after mid­night and you can’t seem to change that despite fol­low­ing all the advice on the inter­net? It is amaz­ing that some par­ents can put their chil­dren to bed at the same time every day, while oth­ers find it dif­fi­cult. What’s the mat­ter? Per­haps in the chrono­type of the baby.

Owl peo­ple are those who find it dif­fi­cult to sleep at night, and such chil­dren usu­al­ly cause a lot of anx­i­ety to par­ents. When you are about to put them to bed, the child’s ener­gy lev­el is at its peak, at which point he begs to go out. If you can’t go out­side because of dark­ness or win­ter, the baby wants to run around the house, and when try­ing to put him to bed, he throws a tantrum when the par­ents are already exhaust­ed and can­not fight for the regime. If you have such an owl baby and you are won­der­ing why the baby does not sleep, read on.

Why does your child not want to sleep?

Why does your child not want to sleep?

Some chil­dren sleep at night because of the mis­takes of their par­ents, while oth­ers fall into a dif­fer­ent chrono­type. Chrono­types are ten­den­cies to sleep. There are four dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of chrono­types: morn­ing, evening, lark, and owl.

Young chil­dren who go to bed late or sleep with too bright lights for sleep (it should be com­plete­ly dimmed, but it is bet­ter to be absent), devel­op delays in the body clock, the so-called social jet lag: read more about it here.


The bio­log­i­cal clock is a tiny area of ​​the brain that helps dis­tin­guish between day and night. This watch encour­ages us to be active dur­ing the day and lulls us at night by stim­u­lat­ing the pro­duc­tion of cer­tain hor­mones.

When the bio­log­i­cal clock begins to “lag behind”, we go to bed lat­er than the body needs, and this is harm­ful at any age.

Anoth­er rea­son why a child does not want to sleep in the evening is over­work. Although fatigue is good for babies, over­work works dif­fer­ent­ly. And this is the most com­mon cause of sleep prob­lems that most chil­dren expe­ri­ence.

The child should get enough sleep at night and enough sleep dur­ing the day so as not to be exhaust­ed at the end of the day. Due to sleep dis­tur­bances at night, it will be dif­fi­cult for the baby to fall asleep dur­ing the day. If both are com­bined, a vicious cycle of fre­quent night awak­en­ings and fatigue begins.

How to change the time of falling asleep in “night owls”?

Whether the child remains a night owl large­ly depends on the efforts of the par­ents. Here’s how you can change this wrong dai­ly rou­tine.

If the child does not fall asleep at a rea­son­able time, you should think about the qual­i­ty of sleep. Accord­ing to the sleep guide­lines, kinder­garten-aged chil­dren should get at least 10 hours of sleep a day. You can help them sleep bet­ter by lit­er­al­ly teach­ing them how to sleep with these steps:

  • Give your child healthy and light meals at night.
  • Lim­it or avoid sweets and sug­ary drinks before bed (includ­ing fruit juices).
  • Set a dai­ly rou­tine and stick to it. This rou­tine is impor­tant because it helps the body pre­pare for sleep.
  • Do not give your child foods with caf­feine and tan­nins (includ­ing black tea and cocoa) or high­ly processed foods after 4 p.m.
  • Lim­it enter­tain­ment (inter­net, TV) before bed.
  • Do not allow fam­i­ly mem­bers to play active games with the baby and overex­cite an hour before bed­time. Even if this is the very moment when the long-await­ed dad final­ly comes home from work.
  • Set a sched­ule for wak­ing up in the morn­ing. In the same way that you set up a night­time sleep sched­ule, you need to main­tain a morn­ing rou­tine. If the child wakes up at 7 am, make sure that this also hap­pens on week­ends and hol­i­days. Vio­la­tion of the dai­ly rou­tine will dis­rupt sleep pat­terns.
  • Set an alarm to wake your baby up at the same time every day. As soon as the alarm goes off, check if the child is up.

You should also check if the child has prob­lems with the deep sleep phase. If you’ve done every­thing to help him start falling asleep on time, includ­ing set­ting up a dai­ly rou­tine, it might be time to get an expert’s opin­ion.


On aver­age, it is impor­tant for chil­dren to adhere to the dai­ly rou­tine with devi­a­tions of a max­i­mum of 30 min­utes from the time of eat­ing and sleep­ing: this is how their body works. How­ev­er, there are sen­si­tive babies for whom an extra 15 min­utes of late bed­time will already cause prob­lems. Chil­dren with neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders are espe­cial­ly often affect­ed.

Remem­ber that sleep dis­tur­bances can affect your child’s over­all health. Such patholo­gies include night­mares, sleep­walk­ing and night ter­rors, or fears, a spe­cial con­di­tion when the baby cries with­out wak­ing up — read more about this in the arti­cle “The child screams and cries with fear at night: what is hap­pen­ing?”.

Is it bad if the child is a real owl?

Is it bad if the child is a real owl?

Hav­ing an owl child is in many ways incon­ve­nient, it inter­feres with attend­ing kinder­garten, and then study­ing at school. How­ev­er, in gen­er­al, in chil­dren with a sim­i­lar chrono­type, only lack of sleep caus­es con­cern for harm to health.

If a preschool­er sleeps his 10–12 hours a day, does not look exhaust­ed before going to bed and eas­i­ly goes to bed dur­ing the day, and this has always been the case, despite going to bed late, then this is his indi­vid­ual norm. In order for the child to have a qual­i­ty and relax­ing rest, he needs to sleep reg­u­lar­ly and in accor­dance with his age. So if all else fails and he goes to bed at mid­night, the main thing is to get enough sleep.


Recall that this does not apply to cas­es when lay­ing is arti­fi­cial­ly delayed due to an incor­rect dai­ly rou­tine. A strict regime helps the vast major­i­ty of chil­dren go to bed in the evening, and opti­mal­ly at 7–8 pm.

Accord­ing to stud­ies, it is at this time in child­hood that the peak pro­duc­tion of the sleep hor­mone, mela­tonin, occurs, and real owls are a rare excep­tion.

With baby owls, it can be dif­fi­cult to main­tain com­mon bed­time rit­u­als for babies. How­ev­er, in itself, such a chrono­type does not mean that the child is worse than the oth­ers.

Accord­ing to research by sci­en­tists at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cleve­land, the chrono­type is not a per­son­al choice or mis­take of the par­ents, but an innate fea­ture. Such peo­ple usu­al­ly have a high­er IQ, peak ener­gy and per­for­mance in the evening, and a high­er chance of achiev­ing suc­cess in var­i­ous areas.

How­ev­er, you need to under­stand exact­ly what is the rea­son for late going to bed before you accept and call the baby an owl. There are many rea­sons for trou­ble falling asleep: for exam­ple, sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chile found that iron defi­cien­cy at an ear­ly age can influ­ence this. So don’t give up right away! And the arti­cle “How to put chil­dren to bed eas­i­ly: advice from sleep con­sul­tants” can help you with this.

Iron defi­cien­cy ane­mia in infan­cy is asso­ci­at­ed with altered tem­po­ral orga­ni­za­tion of sleep states in child­hood. / Peira­no PD, Algar­ín CR, Gar­ri­do MI, et al // Pedi­atric Res - 2007 - 62(6)

Cross-cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences in infant and tod­dler sleep. / Min­dell JA, Sadeh A, Wie­gand B, et al // Sleep Med - 11(3)

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