Is your early-rising 5-year-old entering The Land of Nod by 7 p.m. What about your willful tween-ager? Is your 12-year-old obediently in bed by 9:45?

I’m going to guess no.

But according to a controversial sleep chart making its way around the Internet, those are optimal bedtimes.

When a first grade teacher at Wilson Elementary School in Kenosha, Wisc., posted the chart last August on the school’s Facebook page with the words, “Helpful Information,” she had no idea it would be seen by anyone but school parents. But within days it had gone viral. And five months later, the chart, which assigns the best bedtimes for children according to age and when they get up in the morning, is still being shared — nearly 58,000 likes and more than 400,000 shares.

It popped up in my Facebook newsfeed this week and struck me as quaint – like from another decade, or perhaps another century.

Not that most conscientious parents wouldn’t hope to have their 9-year-old in bed by 8 if he has to get up at 6:15. But with many households run by two working parents who may not even get dinner on the table until 7, and many schools imposing heavy loads of homework, not to mention after school activities and sports, the optimum seems unrealistic.



Interestingly, there are a lot of parents weighing in with postings applauding the guidelines and saying they are hitting the mark already.

“My kids 6 and 9 years are going to bed 7:30 pm and wake up 7:15 am and works perfect,” writes Suzy Mackay.

Another mom however, says, “I don’t need a chart, I just use my skills as a mother to gauge when my children need more/less sleep. Like every adult, sleep needs can range almost 3 hours.”

Yet another mother laments that “charts like this put unrealistic expectations on a lot of parents.”

Experts say that it if your child is having trouble at school, a sleep deficit may be the culprit.

The National Sleep Foundation points to multiple studies that link lack of sleep to problems in school. In one experiment, children were asked to go to bed later than usual for a week, and then for another week sleep at least 10 hours a night. During the week they went to bed later, teachers reported that those kids did not perform as well and had less focus (they were not told those students had less sleep).

What do you think about the suggested bedtimes? Do they work for your family?

Please post and share.

(Visited 22 times, 1 visits today)