Kids who go to bed early are healthier & have happier mums

It’s the best reason we know to insist on an early bedtime for the kids. New Australian research has revealed children who go to bed before 8.30pm are more likely to be healthier and have happier mums. 

The bedtime battle is war that’s waged in Australian homes every night. Kids are calling out for a glass of water, one more cuddle, another story. Children love to drag out every waking hour in each day, but the latest research shows just how important it is for kids to get to sleep early.

The findings were presented this week at Melbourne’s Sleep DownUnder conference, where it was revealed that an earlier bedtime may actually be more important for kids, than having a long sleep.

More than 3500 children were part of the Growing Up in Australia study – the first to discover just how crucial it is for kids to go to bed earlier.

“This is valuable information for parents, many of whom will know about how important it is for their kids to get lots of sleep overall but not much about how significant the bedtime itself is,” says lead researcher Dr Jon Quach, from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

Sleep and lifestyle data was gathered from parents of children at ages four to five, six to seven and eight to nine. The kids were divided into those who went to bed early and got up early, those who went to bed early and got up late, those who went to bed late and got up late, and those who went to bed late and woke early. Kids who were asleep by 8.30pm were deemed early to bed.

What the research found was that those children who went to bed earlier had better health, and their mums had improved mental health, compared to those who slumbered later.

“So mums and dads, getting kids to bed early is not just great for them. It’s good for you too,” Dr Quach explains. “These benefits were seen in all early-to-bed kids regardless of whether they woke early or slept late.

The study, which used children in Victoria, didn’t find any links between the time the kids went to bed at their learning, behaviour and weight. However, research from South Australia that was also presented at the conference found going to bed early and waking early could have a positive impact on the weight of older kids.

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