What Time Should Children Go to Bed on a School Night?

Sleep is very important for the proper physical and mental development of children. Here, you'll find recommendations for your children's rest time.
What Time Should Children Go to Bed on a School Night?
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

When children go back to school, they face many changes in their routines. One of the most important changes is their bedtime, because they no longer get to adapt their sleep time according to their desires and personal needs. Now, they have a responsibility to bear. So, what time should children go to bed on a school night?

Sleep is very important for the proper physical and mental development of children. During rest, hormones that regulate growth and metabolism are released. Besides, during this time, neural connections related to learning and creativity are created and strengthened. Enough sleep time is necessary to assimilate new experiences and information. 

Lack of sleep may lead to daytime sleepiness, concentration problems and irritability. Furthermore, it may relate to hyperactivity disorders. This is why it’s important to know your children’s needs and to provide them with good quality rest.

What Time Should Children Go to Bed on a School Night?

What time should children go to bed?


One of the main factors regarding bedtime is children’s age. Even though their needs change while they grow, children under 9 years old shouldn’t sleep for less than 10 hours. From that point on, there are many elements to take into account.

Until they’re 3 years old, children need to sleep from 11 to 13 hours. Using this information, we should calculate the time children should get up. If your children have to be at school at 9:00 am, they’ll need 1 hour to have breakfast, prepare and get there on time. So, they’ll have to get up at 8:00 am. Taking this into account, we shouldn’t put them to bed after 8:00 pm 0r 8:30 pm.

Between 3 and 5 years old, children need to sleep for 10 to 12 hours. Even though they need less time to sleep, there are many schools that eliminate their nap time. So, all their rest happens during the night. Thus, if they get up at 8:00 am, they should go to bed at 8:45 pm.

Between 6 to 9 years old, children should sleep from 10 to 11 hours. So, you can modify their bedtime according to their school needs, but you have to respect their 10 hours of sleep.

When they’re over 10 years old, the demands are less strict. Children start feeling older and want to adapt their bedtime to their new needs. Thus, 9 hours of sleep may be enough. So, if they get up at 8:00 am, they’ll go to bed at 10:15 pm.

What Time Should Children Go to Bed on a School Night?

Personal circumstances

Age isn’t the only element we should take into account. Some adults sleep for 6 hours and wake up fresh and renewed. Others need to sleep for more than 8 hours. In the case of children, the same happens. Because, not all of them have the same needs.

Any mother can tell this difference between siblings. Therefore, after considering certain parameters, we should take our children’s needs into account.

If your children have a hard time waking up, or they’re grumpy and distracted during the day, they’ll need to sleep for longer periods of time. Whereas, if they wake up fresh before their established time, you can let them go to bed later in the night. Another thing to bear in mind is if they practice any sports. Because, this will affect their energy level at the end of the day.

Finally, remember that going to bed isn’t the same as falling asleep. If you have a chat in bed or read them a story before sleeping, you should think about that time, too. You may have to put them to bed 15 minutes earlier, so it doesn’t affect their sleep time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cladellas, R., Chamarro, A., del Mar Badia, M., Oberst, U., & Carbonell, X. (2011). Efectos de las horas y los hábitos de sueño en el rendimiento académico de niños de 6 y 7 años: un estudio preliminar. Cultura y Educación, 23(1), 119-128.
  • Sanz, E. (2019, 30 octubre). ¿En qué trabaja el cerebro mientras dormimos? Recuperado 11 enero, 2020, de https://lamenteesmaravillosa.com/en-que-trabaja-el-cerebro-mientras-dormimos/

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.