Study Confirms Putting Kids to Bed Earlier is Better for Moms’ Sanity
After reading the headline, you might be saying, “No way! Really?” in the most sarcastic tone you could blurt out. That’s because it’s common knowledge that moms are happier when their kids go to bed early, in fact, most of them would prefer that to be the case. Not only is it beneficial for kid’s health but they can use those after hours to unwind, relax, and briefly forget about the mountain of dishes in the sink.
So we can’t blame you for reacting that way because we’d be lying if we said we didn’t let out a big “DUH” when we first heard about the study. But what’s amazing is that it’s backed by thousands of data with more than a decade of research work.
Although the headline isn’t new flash to many people, the research findings and the details of the study are actually interesting and they verify what we consider as common knowledge.
Early Bedtime for Kids Study
According to the Growing Up in Australia study done in 2004, lead researcher Dr. Jon Quach found that children who sleep early have a better health-related quality of life; and their mothers have improved mental health, compared with children who are late-to-sleep. In addition to this big “revelation,” Dr. Quach adds “so mums and dads, getting kids to bed early is not just great for them. It’s good for you too.” Indeed, these are insightful findings.
Within this study, researchers analyzed sleep and lifestyle data from parents of 3,600 children at ages 4-5, 6-7, and 8-9. Every two years, the families took part in a series of interviews that allowed researchers to check in on the state of their physical and mental health. What they found was that the optimal bedtime for children was 8:30 pm and those who did that reaped the benefits of better quality of life and happier moms.
What Time Should Kids Go to Bed?
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Raise your hand if you love to sleep and wish you got more of it. A toddler may have differing views and hate early bedtimes at the moment but let’s face it, that will change when they realize that sleep becomes a luxury as they get older.
With that said, each age group requires different amounts of sleep per night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies, children, and teens need significantly more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development. (1)
In general, sleep allows our minds and bodies to shut down so that all the processing, restoration and strengthening can happen in that period. One of its vital roles is to solidify memories, turning them from short to long-term. Researchers also found people who get adequate sleep retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Overall, getting adequate sleep helps with muscle growth, repairing, and synthesizing hormones. (2)
Below is an outline of how much sleep each age group needs per night to be fully rested.
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours each day
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours each day
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours each day
- School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours each day
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours each day
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours each day
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours each day
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours each day
For all the moms out there, we know it’s difficult to control your kid’s bedtime, and you wish you could put them to bed early, but that’s a challenging task in itself. What may help is to ensure your kid gets plenty of exercise during the day, avoid too much sugar-intake, and keep their rooms dark.
The National Sleep Foundation also recommends reducing screen-time before bed because the blue light emitting from the screen can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule. (3)
As a final note, try your best to get at least seven hours of sleep at night so your body can also repair itself and have you feeling energized to start your day up again as a busy mom.
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