Family & Parenting

Studies Show That Happier Families Put Kids To Bed Early

Studies are proving that getting kids to bed early isn’t just good for the kids – it’s good for their parents too. While a lot of parents may already know this from first-hand experience, now there is official data to support what they’ve thought all along.

Sleep And Family Health

AJP reports, “Results show children who are early-to-sleep have better health-related quality of life; and their mothers have improved mental health, compared with children who are late-to-sleep.”

In Sleep Down Under 2015, an Australian Sleep Association Conference, recent research suggested that getting kids to bed before 8:30pm can help the entire family be better rested and balanced.

But why? It’s simple, putting kids to bed allows parents to spend more time together as couple, catch up on personal time and do things they may not be able to do when the kids are awake (like take a lavender infused bath or read a chapter in a book).

The University of New England and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute analyzed the lifestyles and sleep patterns of 3,600 children (all under age nine). The results showed that the mothers of children who went to bed early had improved mental health than those with children who went to bed after 8:30pm.

Dr, Jon Quach from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne also pointed out to Yahoo Parenting, “These benefits were seen in all early-to-bed kids regardless of whether they woke early or slept late.”

Sleep And Obesity

Tim Olds, a researcher from the University of South Australia, studied the effects of sleep patterns and waistlines in 2,200 children, aged 9-16. The study suggested that those who were in bed early had lower BMIs and than those that fell asleep later.

Olds told AJP, “The late sleepers were considerably more likely to be obese, have a poorer diet, get more screen time and less physical activity than other kids.”

So does this mean that kids that go to bed later will be obese? Not necessarily – more studies still need to be done to prove if their is a correlation between the two. But it’s certainly a good reason to stick to a bedtime schedule.

Finding Family Time

Families are busy, and often times, parents may work late hours to make ends meet or get a project completed on time. That can cut into family time. So should you let your kids occasionally stay up late so you can spend a few moments with them before bed?

Connor Herman from Dream Team Baby, advises no – parents should try and alter their morning routines to fit in some family time then.

“Yes, I know, night is more relaxed and intimate while mornings are hectic and full of logistics, but there is another way,” she told Yahoo Parenting. “Set up everything the night before — plan breakfast, lay out clothes, do anything you can to make the morning go smoothly so you can have a nice, leisurely family moment before you start your day.”

Certainly easier said than done. But it’s worth a shot, right?