There is not enough time in the day to get everything done so many of us mums are guilty of keeping the kids up a little later than we should just to spend time with them.
However, it seems that we may be doing more harm than good by keeping them up as children who go to bed earlier are healthier and their parents have better mental health, according to research.
This is because the growth hormone is produced only in the fourth stage of sleep, about three hours after they fall asleep.
And if your little one doesn’t go to bed early enough then their body will have less time to produce the hormone. This in turn can seriously affect their growth.
Also, children who get plenty of sleep perform better in class and have better memories.
Research also found that preschoolers who have an earlier bedtime are also at a much lower risk of developing obesity in later life.
AND mums have better mental health – so it’s a win-win all around.
Why is sleep so important?
Well, the National Sleep Foundation says that sleep directly impacts mental and physical development; a child’s ability to regulate emotions, mental health issues, hormones, and metabolism can be affected by not getting enough sleep.
And we all know that kids who don’t get enough shut-eye are cranky, distracted and can struggle to concentrate or focus the next day.
However, it’s not just about sending them to be bed early.
Lead author of a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, Sarah Anderson, says that having a regular bedtime is just as important.
“Other research has shown benefits for children’s behaviour, cognitive development and attention,” she told CNN.
“Regular bedtime routines, including an early bedtime, also are linked to fewer sleep problems such as nighttime awakenings or difficulty falling asleep.”
So how much sleep should a child be getting?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the amount of sleep a child needs depends on their age.
- Infants 4-12 months: 12-16 hours of sleep a night
- Kids 1-2 years of age: 11-14 hours of sleep a night
- Kids 3-5 years of age: 10-13 hours of sleep a night
- Kids 6-12 years of age: 9-12 hours of sleep a night
- Teens 13-18 years of age: 8-10 hours of sleep a night
How can you get kids to sleep early?
- Make sure they exercise during the day
- Turn off screens by 7 p.m
- Give them time to wind down after dinner
- Let them spend time with family before you send them to bed
- And remember, consistency is important to help them fall asleep