Studies Show That an Earlier Bedtime May Improve Your Child’s Sleep

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Image of child sleeping in bed

There are endless questions that arise for first time parents — from diet, to playtime, to screen time, to, well everything. But one of the most confusing and stress-inducing parts of being a parent is knowing when to put the kids to bed and how.

Fighting over bedtime is basically a right of passage for parents and kids. And it can be a nightly battle that is exhausting in more ways than one. Kids often reach a stage where staying awake is all they want, despite how tired they are. So convincing a child that they should go to bed even earlier might seem like an impossible feat. But if you can manage it, studies are showing that an extra 30 minutes to an hour can have a long-lasting positive impact on the overall quality of their sleep. Which in turn, could affect the quality of their lives.

It’s accepted that the length and quality of sleep has an effect on all other areas of a person’s life. The way a person is able to process information, respond to stress, and the way the body utilizes energy and heals and grows is all impacted by sleep. This is especially impactful on children who are quickly growing. Since their brains are busy processing the world around them while simultaneously experiencing changes in hormones, sleep is especially important.

How does sleep affect a child’s health?

A recent study titled “Nonpharmacological Interventions to Lengthen Sleep Duration in Healthy Children” found that in a “systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 trials, interventions to improve sleep in healthy children were associated with a small increase in sleep duration (by 10 minutes per night).”

While 10 minutes might not sound like much, the study further found that “face-to-face delivery was an important component of interventions, but interventions that included earlier bedtimes were associated with 47 minutes longer sleep duration per night.” An extra 47 minutes of sleep each night is enough to impact a child’s overall physical and emotional health. 

The study summarized the findings of the study that “supporting children to go to bed earlier can increase sleep duration in healthy children, and interventions to encourage earlier bedtimes should be included.”

So it does take some extra effort from parents to get the schedule regulated and to have the face-to-face routine in place. But the end results are that children can benefit from integrating healthier, longer sleep patterns.

What to do if a child hates going to bed

There are other things that parents can do to help their child change their attitudes about going to bed and going to sleep. Here are some tips that we’ve gathered to support parents and children in their sleep journeys.

1. Assess their habits

Turns out, kids are not too different from the rest of us. A child’s ability to fall asleep is impacted by their diet, exercise, stress, and the amount of screen time they have. If they are having trouble falling asleep or aren’t in a healthy rhythm of wakefulness and tiredness, try looking at some of these factors to see if anything needs adjusting.

2. Create a comfortable sleep space

There will come a time when children begin to form their own opinions and preferences. It can be helpful to ask them what kind of things they want in their sleep space. For example, what colour or them do they want for a blanket, or if they like sleeping with certain stuffies. Giving children ownership over their own space can help them to feel more comfortable within it. It can also increase excitement about going to sleep in the first place.

3. The right mattress 

As kids quickly grow through the phases of their lives, their mattresses will need updating. From a crib to a “big kid bed” and then perhaps another bed when they reach young adulthood. It’s important to check in to see if a child is comfortable on their mattress. Is the mattress too soft or firm? Is it the correct size? If you are finding that your child is not sleeping through the night, check in to see that they haven’t outgrown their sleep space.

If you are in the market for a mattress for your child, come in to our mattress showroom and our helpful staff can walk you through the available options. And bring your kids along, too, so they can “test drive” the mattresses themselves!