No parent has to be told that putting your children to bed early is a good thing. But who knew just how good it could be?
According to a study conducted by Dr. Jon Quach of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne, putting your kids to bed before 8:30 PM has all around positive affects on your mental and physical health, your child’s health and your relationships.
The study examined 3,600 Australian children and found that parents with children who went to bed before 8:30 have more stable mental health than the parents of children with later bedtimes.
Conner Herman, co-founder of the infant and toddler sleep consultancy based in Manhattan, Dream Team Baby, couldn’t be less surprised by these findings.
“Those last moments of the day are such intense family time, and you’re using so much of yourself to be present for your child, but after bedtime the night is yours,” Herman said. “That’s when you can relax your mind and your body and focus on any last things you need to get done or just talk to your partner or read or watch a show on TV. Everyone needs that shutting-down time.”
When your kids are up late, chances are you’re up even later, trying to get some quiet time with your partner, spend time relaxing or finishing up some work. This late bedtime affects your REM cycle, making it impossible to go throughout your daytime craziness with a clear head.
Translation: the earlier your kid sleeps, the better sleep you’ll get as a parent.
This early bedtime not only allows for longer, more peaceful sleep, but allows for more time with yourself or your partner, as well. Having this private time has been shown to positively affect your relationship with your partner and strengthen your own mental health.
But you’re not the only one reaping the benefits. According to the study, children who get to sleep before 8:30 PM have a better quality of life. The longer kids get to sleep, the more balanced their circadian rhythm is, and the more healthy and happy they become.
Early bedtime is clearly a win/win all around. But what about parents who can’t get home until later?
Herman suggests trying to take some of your lingering work home, to finish once the kids are asleep. If you truly cannot escape work, she suggests making mornings the time you spend with your kids. If you use nights to make a morning plan, you’ll have a smoother AM and more time to spend together as a happier, healthier family.
What do you think of this sleeping study? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.