Getting Strict About Early Bedtime Has Scientific Benefits, And Saves Your Sanity

bedtime routine reading
Image: iStock / evgenyatamanenko

Bedtime is almost always a fight with kids. Even when they’re sleepy, they still don’t want to sleep. Getting them to actually lay down and fall asleep is a constant battle that we never seem to win. So while we’re fighting with them to sleep, we’re also becoming more beat down. But here’s the thing, getting stricter with our kiddos about early bedtime is the way to go. Not only is it good for them, but it’s also good for us. And something that is mutually beneficial is always a good thing.

Especially when it’s saving our sanity. Because that’s important.

First of all, just how early are we talking here? According to Jon Quach, lead author and research fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, an early bedtime is anything before 8:30pm. Sometimes that’s not feasible, but if you can make it happen, you should. Little folks need to get as much sleep as they can. And the longer they’re asleep, the more alone time we get. So, it’s really a win-win, no matter how you look at it.

”We know that sleep is a really relevant part of our mental health, our mood. We know in kids, it’s related to behavioral [issues] and the ability to self-control,” says Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson. Swanson’s comment come from an interview with TODAY Parents in 2017.

Think about it. When our kids are sleepy, they’re unbearable to be around. Between the tantrums, the tears, and heaven knows what else, we’re begging them to sleep. Mainly just because we need relief from all their drama. Then after they go to sleep, we usually still have things to do. Whether is be cleaning up from dinner, or getting work done, or just having time to decompress ourselves. That time is crucial. And if our kids are going to be late, we’re going to bed late. So then everyone is sleepy and cranky the next day.

”When we think about mom, it makes a lot of sense to me that if kids are early to bed, mom is going to wind down, get things done and feel like things are under control,” Dr. Swanson adds.

A study from “Growing Up in Australia” that Quach is a part of, notes that kids who go to bed early have a “better health-related quality of life.” Which makes a lot of sense.

For preschool age kids, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night. School age kids should be sleeping 9 to 11 hours a night. They also say that adults should be getting between 7 and 9 hours, which is kind of hilarious.

So, it may be hard, but it’s worth giving a try. Being more strict about bedtime really does benefit everyone. And all we want is for our kids to be healthy right?

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