When I was pregnant with my first child, a friend’s dad told me “congratulations, you’ll never sleep again.” I laughed, and naively thought that my kid would be different.
Two kids later and sleep ranks up there with potty training as one of the toughest aspects of parenting. Nobody seems to get enough and the struggle is daily.
But a new study confirms why all those bedtime battles are indeed worth it. When kids go to bed early, they are healthier and mom is happier.
This may seem common sense, but science has confirmed its truth with the Growing Up in Australia study, during which researchers tracked thousands of families beginning in 2004. Every two years, these families took part in a series of interviews that allowed researchers to check in on the state of their health.
Analyzing the sleep and lifestyle data they collected, researchers found that children with early bedtimes—those asleep by 8:30 p.m.—had “better health-related quality of life.” And their moms had improved mental health, too.
Jon Quach, the lead author of the study, spoke to Today about the findings. “So mums and dads, getting kids to bed early is not just great for them. It’s good for you, too,” he said.
Makes sense to me. There’s nothing quite as sweet as the silence that falls on my house shortly after 8 p.m. That evening quiet time is a gift. A space in the day to recharge, relax and watch “The Bachelor” in peace.
In addition to happy mommies, there are some real benefits to children as well. A U.S. study suggests that children who go to bed earlier also sleep longer. And kids need a lot of sleep. Just look at this chart from the National Sleep Foundation: