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Babies are nothing if not unpredictable. Yes, you’ll learn your child’s likes, dislikes and patterns over time, but sometimes it can seem like what makes them happy one day makes them unhappy the next. While it can’t always be helped, one thing can make all the difference: consistency.

One way to help keep your sanity intact and set yourself up for success is to establish a set bedtime for your baby. What are some of the benefits of picking a bedtime? Here are our favorites:

More sleep for baby.
If your child is put down for bed at the same time each night, their body will adjust to the routine. This means they’ll begin winding down around the same time each day, knowing it’s almost time for bed. They’ll come to rely on the routine and appreciate it.

More sleep for mommy and daddy.
As your child adjusts to the routine, they’ll have an easier time sleeping through the night. While there’s no way to guarantee this will be the end of 2 a.m. wakeup calls from your baby, having everyone on a schedule will help you get the rest you need as well.

Greater independence.
A bedtime routine helps your child adjust to sleeping in their own crib in their own room. This consistency helps them feel more secure and comfortable in their own space, which may also help them stay asleep through the night.

Better health.
Getting adequate sleep is key to your child’s overall health. Without enough sleep, they may become more prone to illness (since their immune system isn’t yet developed) and digestive issues. A little regularity goes a long way.

Better mood.
When your child gets the sleep they need, they’re less cranky and fussy during the daytime. As any parent will tell you, when your child is happy, everything goes smoother. Getting adequate rest supports their cognitive health and development in multiple ways, including benefiting their memory and attention span. The routine will help them feel more relaxed as well, eventually knowing what to expect.

Time for bonding.
Having a set time for the bedtime routine to begin helps you stick to all the special steps and traditions that mean a lot to you and your baby. From bathtime to cuddles with a book, it’s a time to let your little one feel how much they’re loved and cherished and create new memories with you as they grow.

Alone time for mommy and daddy.
Knowing when your child will be in bed by each night means you can plan time for yourself and your partner to spend on your own and with each other. This time is crucial for your relationship to reduce stress, catch up and communicate. Intimacy can be difficult to come by in the early days, so why not do what you can to make it happen?

Sticking to a routine isn’t always simple. There will be days when it seems like it won’t work, which may mean some more time cuddling in the rocking chair, an extra feed or eventually having to let your child soothe themselves. But like any aspect of parenting, the work is certainly worth the reward in the end.

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