Good news for parents who are able to put their kids to sleep early. A new study shows that an early bedtime means happier and healthier children. Learn why going to bed early is best for kids.
Why Going To Bed Early Is Best For Kids
An early bedtime routine can be a real struggle sometimes, but going to bed early will bring health benefits to your children. Kids going to bed early sleep longer, and are overall healthier than children that fall asleep late.
Children need healthy food and exercise, but they also need a good night sleep for their optimal development. Think about how you feel when you go to bed late and have to wake up early the next day. This is the reason why it is so important to set an early bedtime routine for children. Kids need to rest well to be able to have energy, play and focus the following day.
If you are struggling with your children’s bedtime routine, I have some tips that could help. Kids bedtime should be a priority so both adults and children in the family can benefit from it. If mom and dad also sleep well, then the whole family wins! Please see my 5 Tips For Helping Children Fall Asleep Faster And Sleep Better post for more details. Once you set the routine it will be so much easier, and you will see the wonderful benefits right away.
An Early Bedtime Means Happier And Healthier Children
Sarah Anderson, an associate professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University, is the lead author of a study from the Journal of Pediatrics that confirms that an early bedtime means happier and healthier children. Kids bedtime routines are really important.
Earlier bedtimes for toddlers were protective against obesity.
The study used data from 977 children who were part of the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. That project followed healthy babies born at 10 U.S. sites in 1991.
Anderson divided preschool bedtimes into three categories: 8 p.m. or earlier, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., and after 9 p.m. The children were about 4 ½ years old when their mothers reported their typical weekday bedtime. The researchers linked preschoolers’ bedtimes to obesity when the kids were teens, at an average age of 15.
The study found that bedtimes after 9 p.m. appeared to double the likelihood of obesity later in life. Not only that, but the study found that children with a late bedtime routine took longer to fall asleep, and were more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
The recommendation for a healthy weight as a teen? Tuck in your toddler by 8 p.m.
The problem with obesity
Obesity can set kids up for a lifelong struggle with weight and health complications that can accompany it, including diabetes and heart disease. Excess weight in children is a major health concern in the United States. Approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s something concrete that families can do to lower their child’s risk and it’s also likely to have positive benefits on behavior and on social, emotional and cognitive development,” Anderson said. It also arms pediatricians with scientifically based advice for parents.
Going To Bed Early Will Make Your Kids Happier (And Even Smarter)
Another study published in American Academy of Pediatrics showed earlier bedtimes were linked to better behavior. The students in this study (ages 7 to 11), who were put to bed an hour earlier for five nights were rated by their teachers (who were unaware of the children’s bedtime) as being less irritable and impulsive than usual.
And as if that wasn’t enough evidence that early bedtimes are all sorts of great, in yet another study in Japan, researchers reported that 18-month-olds who went to bed before 10 p.m. were at a lower risk for motor, language, and social deficits compared with kids who went to bed late.
I really hope this article and the studies reenforces the idea that a good early bedtime routine is essential. At home we try as much as possible to keep our bedtime routine to no later than 9pm. My goal is to put my 4 year old daughter, and 8 year old son in bed by 8:00pm. I notice that we usually meet our bedtime goal the day they eat healthy and have plenty of exercise.
So, basically, there are 3 super important things to have in mind for your children’s overall health: sleep, healthy food, and exercise. So make sure they eat well, get out and play, and go to bed early!
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