• Early Bedtime for the Kids Means Much Needed Me-Time for You

    Putting the kids bed early may be the key to your sanity. Here's how to start getting that early bedtime routine.
    by Rachel Perez .
Early Bedtime for the Kids Means Much Needed Me-Time for You
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  • Moms to newborns have no choice but to sleep according to their baby's irregular and still-developing circadian rhythm. Soon enough though he will need your guidance to know that nighttime is for sleeping. The goal is he sleeps through the night and lessens the night time wakings by the time he's a toddler. Before he starts preschool, he falls asleep on his own ideally.

    To make all of the above happen, a bedtime routine is crucial to start when your child is still a baby. “Research shows that sleep rhythms begin to develop at around 6 weeks, and most babies are developmentally capable of regular sleep-wake cycles by 3 to 6 months,” says Dr. Tirona-Remulla, head of the Sleep Lab at Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa. “As your baby begins to understand the difference between night and day, it’s the perfect time to help improve his sleep routine.”

    Dr. Tirona-Remulla recommends a sleep routine that starts with the most energetic activity progressing to the most calming.

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    We're going on and on about sleep here for your kids because it provides long-term health benefits for your child AND — drum roll, please — you.

    Moms and dads have more time for sleep when the little one goes to bed early.

    We all wait when the kids are asleep to get some work done (or binge watch your favorite TV show). Yes, that is our small window for self-care whatever it means for you. When moms have more time for self-care — more sleep, a relaxing DIY spa, or invigorating lovemaking! — it reflects on the whole family's overall quality of life. When mom has had a restful sleep, she's better equipped to get back to the daily hustle physically, emotionally, and mentally. A happy wife leads to a happy life indeed, not just for the hubbies but also for the kids as well.

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    How early is an early bedtime for a preschooler?

    They ideally sleep between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. based on several studies, and if your preschooler isn't at these times, adjust his slumber time little by little. Experts have discovered that modifying a child's bedtime 20 minutes earlier make a huge difference when it comes to bedtime schedule and overall hours of sleep.

    Of course, early bedtime may not be easy to implement in your home. If nothing works, you can try laughter (yep, you heard us right). According to Dr. Deborah Macnamara in her book, Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One), that while crying is how children commonly process their emotions (and release stress from their bodies), they also do it through play and laughter.

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    When you play and laugh with your preschooler before bedtime, she will go to sleep feeling secure and safe even if you're not lying on the bed with her. Laughter also helps release melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep.

    Early bedtimes are more restorative for your child.

    "When a child sleeps is probably as important or maybe more important as how much,” explains pediatrician Marc Weissbluth, M.D., author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. "These benefits were seen in all early-to-bed kids regardless of whether they woke early or slept late," said Dr. Jon Quach of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne.
    Getting to bed early leads to better behavior and brain function for your child. Several studies have found that kids who had slept an hour earlier are less irritable than usual and more impulsive, according to a study which used interviews from teachers who have no idea which of their students had more sleep via an earlier bedtime. The kids also displayed a boost in cognitive functions such as in short-term and working memory and attention span, which helped them perform better in school.

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    Though studies have not made a direct cause and effect link between sleep and weight, studies have found that kids who are late sleepers were more likely to gain weight more or be obese. It's mainly due to kids who sleep new or lack sleep eat an unhealthy diet, are exposed to more screen time, and have less physical activity. (Click here for more reasons lack of sleep harms your little one)

    Don’t force naps on preschoolers who don’t want it. You’ll just be take away from your child’s sleep at night, says Dr. Tirona-Remulla. If you’re not convinced, recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, say that children 6 years old and above don’t need to nap at all. Sleeping for 9 to 12 hours a night for kids in this age range is enough. See the full sleep guidelines that cover infants to teenagers here.

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