The Benefits Of An Early Bedtime For Your Little One
Putting children to bed can be a challenging time for any parent. Every family is different-some cherish complete silence at a child’s bedtime, while others enjoy singing, storytelling, or playing music for children. Various arguments can certainly be made for the many methods of soothing an infant or child to sleep, but we all have one goal in common-sleep!
There’s no denying the benefits that come from your little one catching a good night’s sleep. However, studies show, those benefits aren’t limited to the next day. As it turns out, an early bedtime and a full night of sleep can have a number of different health benefits for your little one both now and in the long run. Here is why.
Less night wakings
The later you put your little one to bed, the more you run the risk of night wakings. One reason is that your child may be too drowsy at their late bedtime to master the skill of putting themselves to sleep. In addition, when they go through a natural sleep cycle and stirs-they do not have the skill to put themselves back to sleep, which becomes more difficult as the night goes on.
Less early rising
You might think that a child would sleep a little longer if overtired, but it’s simply not true. The body secretes alerting hormones when we’re overtired, which makes bedtime more difficult and tends to cause the child to wake more during the night. A child who goes to sleep too late, nap-deprived and overly drowsy will actually be likely to rise early. The ability to “sleep in” does not typically occur until a child is 6 to 8 years old.
Quicker to sleep
A consistent routine and early bedtime will begin to create a more emotionally secure feeling for your child, which will help them go to sleep more easily. This preparatory time also signals to your child’s mind and body that it’s time for bed. Production of the hormone melatonin (the body's own natural sleep-inducing chemical) can begin, and they will nod off to sleep more calmly and quickly.
Less resistance at bedtime
Children may resist getting into bed for a few reasons. But, when children have poor sleep habits, you may see more temper tantrums, power struggles and poor behaviour. While these behaviours certainly aren't unusual for little ones, they become more prevalent and intense if your child isn’t getting to bed early enough.
Quality time before bed
An early bedtime and a soothing bedtime routine go hand in hand. Instead of just getting ready for bed, you’re also spending quality time together reading, singing songs and snuggling. Your child can't help but benefit from this emotionally secure time. Just keep activities before bedtime quiet and calm.
A healthier child
Studies show that children under 2 with later bedtimes are at a higher risk for motor, language and social deficits. A late bedtime can also negatively affect your school-age child’s alertness and, as a result, their performance in school. A recent study published in the journal Paediatrics found a direct link between improved sleep and emotional stability in 7- to 11-year-olds.
Written by Laura Doyle staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.