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Bedtime (also called putting to bed or tucking in) is a ritual part of parenting to help children feel more secure[1] and become accustomed to a more rigid schedule of sleep than they might prefer. The ritual of bedtime is aimed at facilitating the transition from wakefulness to sleep.[2] It may involve bedtime stories, children's songs, nursery rhymes, bed-making and getting children to change into nightwear. In some religious households, prayers are said shortly before going to bed.[3]

In adult use, the term means simply "time for bed", similar to curfew, as in "It's past my bedtime". Some people are accustomed to drinking a nightcap or herbal tea at bedtime.


In boarding schools and on trips or holidays that involve young people, the equivalent of bedtime is lights out or lights-out - this term is also used in prisons, hospitals, in the military, and in sleep research.


In the pre-digital newspaper era, a newspaper, usually daily, was "put to bed" when editorial work on the issue had formally ceased, the context was fixed, and printing could begin.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dr Scoresby. "Winning the bedtime battle". Archived from the original on 20 August 2000.
  2. ^ Hale, Lauren; Berger, Lawrence M.; LeBourgeois, Monique K.; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne (2009). "Social and Demographic Predictors of Preschoolersʼ Bedtime Routines". Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. 30 (5): 394–402. doi:10.1097/dbp.0b013e3181ba0e64. PMC 2793084. PMID 19745760.
  3. ^ A Scottish prayer: "I am going now into the sleep, / Be it that I in health shall wake; / If death be to me in deathly sleep, / Be it that in thine own arm's keep, / O God of grace, to new life I wake; / O be it in thy dear arm's keep, / O God of grace, that I shall awake!" (from Poems of the Western Highlanders, 1900; in The Oxford Book of Prayer, general editor: George Appleton. Oxford University Press; no. 325 at p. 101