Any new parent can tell you how incredible it is when your baby finally sleeps through the night, giving them a few glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep. After all, getting a good night's sleep lets us wake in a better mood and makes for better productivity all around. Not surprisingly, the same can be said for our kids.
Studies show that kids who go to bed earlier are not only happier but also less irritable at school and tend to have less behavior problems. But it's not just the kids who benefit from early bedtimes — moms do too! Mothers of children who have earlier bed times have improved mental health according to the Growing Up in Australia study which followed 10,000 Australian families from 2004 with check ins every two years.
Getting to kids to bed at an early hours, which this study deems as before 8:30 pm, not only ensures a well rested child who is getting better quality sleep, but a happier family. Kids who go to bed early give parents some much needed time alone to focus on themselves. They use that time to complete tasks they haven't been able to do during the day, or use it to simply spend quality time together without the children present. Every mom knows the value of having some alone time at the end of the day to simply decompress and wind down.
“So mums and dads, getting kids to bed early is not just great for them. It’s good for you too,” Lead researcher Dr. Jon Quach said. “These benefits were seen in all early-to-bed kids regardless of whether they woke early or slept late."
Other doctors couldn't agree more with the results of the study. “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,” Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson told TODAY Parents.
“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.”
There is no doubt that kids benefit from an early bedtime and consistent routine, but that isn't always easy to do with our busy lives. Dr. Swanson suggests to make bedtime easier, ensure your child gets adequate exercise during the day, take away electronics at 7 pm, and give them some time to wind down after dinner and spend some time with the family before announcing bed time. The benefits of an early bed time on the whole family are just too important to not make it a priority.