04/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

What's The Best Time To Put Children To Sleep?

When I read that Barack and Michelle Obama had set their daughters' bedtime for 8 p.m., I asked my oldest (now 25) if he remembered having a bedtime when he was little. He just laughed at me.

When he was a preschooler, I was a pediatric resident (before the limits on work hours), and evenings tended to start around 7 p.m. And mind you, these were 1980s evenings, free of e-mail and cellphones and texting and all the other distractions that make it harder and harder for a child -- or an adult -- to say goodnight. I'm not sure any of my three children ever had a regular bedtime before 9:30 or 10.