Study: Putting kids to bed early means better mental health... for mom

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Parents looking for a simple sanity saver may find it by adjusting their children's bedtimes: Kids who fall asleep early are more likely to be healthier, and their moms have better mental health, new research has found.

Study: Putting kids to bed early means better mental health... for mom

"So mums and dads, getting kids to bed early is not just great for them. It's good for you, too," said Jon Quach, lead author and research fellow at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, in a written statement.

Quach and his colleagues defined "early to bed" as being asleep by 8:30 p.m.

That's a very typical bedtime for early school age kids, whose level of melatonin — the hormone that helps the brain chill out and fall asleep — tends to peak around 8 o'clock at night, said Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a Seattle pediatrician who writes the Seattle Mama Doc blog. She was not involved in the Australian study.

"We know that sleep is a really relevant part of our mental health, our mood. We know in kids, it's related to behavioral [issues] and the ability to self-control," Swanson told TODAY Parents.

"When we think about mom, it makes a lot of sense to me that if kids are early to bed, mom is going to wind down, get things done and feel like things are under control."

The study results are based on interviews with children and parents taking part in the "Growing Up in Australia" study, which began tracking thousands of Australian families in 2004 and continued to check in with them every two years.

For this analysis, researchers used information collected from parents of kids who were 4 to 5 years old, then again when they were 6 to 7, and finally when they were 8 to 9 years old.

After crunching the study's sleep and lifestyle data, the researchers found children with earlier bedtimes had "better health-related quality of life" compared to the other kids, while their mothers had improved mental health.

This was true regardless of how long the children actually slept — the key was going to bed early. The findings were presented at the Sleep DownUnder 2015 conference in Melbourne last month.

For guidance, the U.S. National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-13 hours of slumber for preschoolers and 9-11 hours of sleep for school age children.

Fuente: www.today.com
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