Putting Kids To Bed Early Means Better Mental Health… For Mom!
Written by: Sarah Lawrence
Moms have known it forever, but now there’s research to prove that kids who fall asleep by 8:30 p.m. are more likely to be happier and healthier. The BONUS part of this? When the kids hit the sack on time, mom’s mental health is better too!
Early bedtime works for kids, because their melatonin levels peak around 8 p.m. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you fall asleep and keeps you on a consistent sleep cycle. It makes sense to schedule bedtime in a way that works with kids physiology!
Not only is it easier for kids to fall asleep shortly after their melatonin levels peak, but it is also easier for them to get good sleep.
The U.S. National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-13 hours of sleep for preschoolers and 9-11 hours of sleep for school age children. For kids in bed by 8 p.m., that means you hit the magic number for waking between 5 and 8 a.m. Getting the sleep equation right means better mental health, mood, energy and self-control.
How Does Early Bedtime Benefit Moms?
Well, it’s likely a matter of stress reduction and some uninterrupted time to get things done at the day’s end. As a mom of 2 school aged boys, I’ll tell you that the quiet after bedtime is better than chocolate some days! When my tribe is sleeping, I can shift out of “mommy mode” and into “me mode.”
It may not sound like much, but it’s a sanity saver, because I know I can focus on my personal to-do list without having to take time away from my fellas.
Ready to make the switch to an earlier bedtime?
Here are 5 ways to support sleep in the kid crowd:
1. Make sure they get plenty of fresh air and exercise during the day.
2. No digital devices or screen time after 7 p.m.
3. Focus on feeding kids a healthy balanced dinner.
4. After dinner, give kids time to chill and aim for a relaxed environment (quieter music, dimmer lights, no roughhousing or major shenanigans).
5. Work out a bedtime routine. Bath/shower, brush teeth, cuddle and read. Put your own spin on it and make it something your kids enjoy. Consistency is key!
In our home, our bedtime ritual is simple and it works. I love being able to connect with each of our boys; we talk about each other’s day and touch on big things that are on the horizon. It’s a close time, a cuddle time, a lay-down-beside-them or at least sit-with-them time. It’s the time when we read and talk about books.
I’ve gotten more insight into the imaginations of my children at bedtime than all other times combined! What’s most amazing are the things that you hear at bedtime… prayers, wishes, doubts, troubles, sadness and heartbreak… triumphs, highlights, drama and dreams. And if you stay for the stillness when they drift off to sleep, you may be privileged to lay your hand on theirs to calm one of those sudden jolts as their bodies relax and you can soak in the sweetness of their breath, the way their faces soften…
And as you kiss foreheads and whisper your goodnight’s, know that you are all the better for it as well.
Sarah Lawrence is a Certified Holistic Health and Integrative Nutrition Coach, Speaker and Reiki Master based in Southern NH. Sarah creates lifestyle transformations by coaching her clients to shift from their current habits into healthier ones. Her philosophy is that small changes, over time, can yield big results. By developing a technique that leverages the benefits of whole foods nutritionals, seasonal detoxification, reiki, aromatherapy, meditation and life coaching, Sarah artfully combines her knowledge from years of study in the fields of chemistry, nutrition and energy healing.
Sarah leads clients from frustration due chronic health issues to elation by attaining and sustaining balanced health. Her intuitive style supports true healing on all levels. Sarah studied at Fairfield University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; she is pursuing her Masters in Clinical Nutrition and is dedicated to continuing her studies so she can provide the best support for her clients.
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