A recent study suggests putting your kids to bed early means better mental health for mom and dad.
The researchers defined “early to bed” as being asleep by 8:30 p.m.
That’s a very typical bedtime for early school age kids, whose level of melatonin — the hormone that helps the brain chill out and fall asleep — tends to peak around 8 o’clock at night. For adults, sleep is a really relevant part of our mental health, our mood. And for kids, it’s related to behavioral [issues] and the ability to self-control. When you think about mom, it makes a lot of sense that if kids are early to bed, mom is going to wind down, get things done and feel like things are under control.
After crunching the study’s sleep and lifestyle data, the researchers found children with earlier bedtimes had “better health-related quality of life” compared to the other kids, while their mothers had improved mental health.
For guidance, the U.S. National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-13 hours of slumber for preschoolers and 9-11 hours of sleep for school age children.
Here are some suggestions for getting your kids asleep on time:
- Make sure they get exercise during the day
- Have screens out of their hands by 7 p.m.
- Give them time to wind down after dinner
- Give them a chance to spend family time with you before you tuck them into bed.