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Why It’s a Really Huge Problem If You Don’t Put Your Kids to Bed Earlier

Why It’s a Really Huge Problem If You Don’t Put Your Kids to Bed Earlier

One of the most difficult parts of parenthood can be getting your child to go to bed. The tantrums, pleading, and crying that kids can indulge in to be able to stay up a little later makes it a hard rule to enforce. However, if you are the kind of parent who is strict about making sure that your little bundle of joy goes to bed with the chickens, then take heart: research has shown that most kids do not go to bed at the proper time — and that this can lead to physical and mental/emotional health problems down the road. Writer Melinda Moyer, writing in Slate, discusses why sleep is so important to a child’s development.

The National Sleep Foundation Survey

The National Sleep Foundation is, as the name suggested, dedicated to the study of sleep — and to the health consequences of not getting enough of it. In a recent survey, the foundation discovered some disturbing news about the sleep habits of American children all over the country. What was found was that :

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  • 50 percent of preschoolers go to sleep after 9 p.m.
  • 64 percent of first through fifth grade children do not go to bed until after 9 p.m., either

This is considered by the foundation to be too late a time to go beddy-bye. And a variety of studies have found that getting enough sleep is an important part of raising healthy, happy children.

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What the Research Shows

So why is it so important to make sure that your child goes to bed early? A number of studies over the years have looked at different answers to this question and here’s what they found:

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  • The National Survey mentioned above found that factors like a child falling asleep on his/her own at an early time was associated with better quality of sleep; factors like a parent being present or a child drinking caffeinated beverages or having a television in their room was associated with poor sleep quality.
  • Children who have a later bedtime tend to wake up more during the night and are not able to sleep in late enough to make up for this sleep deficit; as a result, they are more likely to be sleep deprived.
  • Children who are sleep-deprived are more likely to be overweight or obese than children who get enough rest.
  • Teens who are getting enough sleep are less likely to have problems with depression and suicidal ideation.
  • School-aged children who had adequate rest as toddlers are less likely to have problems with attention span or aggressive behavior.

In short, sleep deprivation can bring a whole slew of physical and mental/emotional problems for children. That is why the Sleep Foundation recommends that a good sleep routine be as much a part of parenting as diet and exercise in order to promote a child’s health. But how does a parent go about achieving this?

Tips for Helping Your Kids to Sleep Well

If you understanding the importance of giving your child a good night’s sleep, but are not sure how to begin, here are some tips to get you started!

  • Make sure that you put your children to bed at the same time each night and get them up at the same time each morning. This will help their bodies to establish a sleep-wake routine.
  • Make sure that your child’s room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature to make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
  • Don’t offer your child any beverages or other foods with caffeine or sugar.
  • Do not let your child have a television or other devices in their room; too much screen time has been associated with poor sleep in many studies.
  • Train your child to be able to fall asleep on their own, instead of being depending upon you in order to fall asleep.
  • Establish a “quiet time” before bed that can involve reading, taking a warm bath, or other relaxing activity in order to wind down.

So the next time your toddler starts to howl about a 7 p.m. bedtime, grit your teeth and enforce the rules you have established for a consistent bedtime. They probably won’t thank you for that right away, but in the long run, it is one of the best things you can do as a parent for the long-term health and wellness of your child.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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