Advertising
Advertising

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 :

Advertising

  • 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.

Advertising

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:

Advertising

  • 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.

Advertising

More by this author

Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds You Shouldn’t Miss

Trending in Health

1 How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life 2 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power 3 13 Essential Self-Care Tips for Busy People 4 How to Reduce Mental Stress Quickly (And Naturally) 5 Overcome Fear and Anxiety with These 4 Mindset Shifts

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

Advertising

Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

Advertising

9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

Advertising

How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

Advertising

18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

Read Next