Bedtime can be a battle for many parents, with more than half in a recent study saying it is the single most stressful time of their day – and almost two-thirds of respondents telling Disney’s Parenting Hacks podcast that their kids won’t sleep until after 10pm.
So, what time should we go to bed? It varies, says Dr Paul Kelley, an honorary associate in sleep, circadian and memory neuroscience at the Open University. The topic of young children’s bedtimes is “very badly” researched, he says. That said: “9pm is a sensible approach.”
For teenagers, Kelley says that, generally speaking, 13- to 16-year-olds should be in bed by 11.30pm. However, our school system needs a radical overhaul to work with teenagers’ biological clocks. “If you’re 13 to 15 you should be in school at 10am, so that means you’re waking up at 8am. They don’t get to do that, but that’s the one that fits in with their biological clocks.”