There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, and just when you think you are so tired that your eyes may close while walking to bed, a kid wakes up needing something. It never fails; sleep is hard to come by as a mom. Somehow, bedtimes get pushed back for one reason or another and then your own sleep is always interrupted, and then the morning arrives before you are ready for it. This cycle may drive you to crazy town, and with good reason!
An article circulating recently stated that moms lose up to 40 days of sleep throughout their first year of motherhood. While this segment of time is one that most moms consider the survival time, it's the next few years as the baby grows into a toddler and young child that I want to touch on today. We all know that sleep is important. But did you know that lack of sleep can send you into a deep, dark place? It's true, your primitive side takes over when you aren't getting enough sleep or taking time to care for yourself.
Not only is sleep important for you, but your child needs to get a good amount of sleep as well! Physical growth and brain development occurs during deep sleep, and the body needs this time to fight off inflammation or illnesses that may be developing.
Getting your child(ren) to bed at a reasonable time each night gives you the ability to decompress and relax. A mom's job is never truly over, but two hours of down time every night certainly helps to reset the brain's ability to complete the tasks of motherhood the following day. That being said, ensuring you head to bed at a decent time also plays a role in your mental sanity!
An Earlier Bedtime
New research shows us that an earlier bedtime for kids makes them healthier... and makes us happier! As a mom to five, I can tell you that this study makes complete sense! We started a strict earlier bedtime after our third child entered toddlerhood, and our lives have been happier since. It's not always easy to get bedtime done, and it's getting harder as my oldest are in evening activities, but keeping one parent at home to make sure the toddlers get to bed within their healthy sleep window is keeping us all sane.
As moms, we typically start counting the hours until bedtime starting at about 3:00pm every day. For some reason, by 5:00pm all hell breaks loose. (That can't just be my house, right?)
An Australian study performed over the course of a decade followed thousands of children and families. The results showed that children who were asleep by 8:30pm had a better health-related quality of life. Also discovered was that moms were happier and had positive mental health reports when their children followed an earlier bedtime routine.
The National Sleep Foundation created this chart that shows their recommendations for sleep by age.
According to a 2007 study, "Broadly speaking, it might be argued that the most fundamental requirements for healthy growth and development in young children include a) loving support and protection by parents/caretakers, b) adequate nutrition, and c) adequate sleep."