Every parent of young children struggles with sleep concerns in those early years. An early bedtime can be a simple solution to many of those concerns, and can even impact long-term sleep habits and your own wellbeing.
Fewer wake-ups at night. If you wait until your little one is a bit overtired before you put him to bed, you run the risk of disrupting his natural sleep cycle. If he doesn’t have the chance to put himself to sleep, his sleep cycle may be disrupted and lead to more night wakings.
Later rising in the morning. Though it may seem counterintuitive, the more tired a young child is, the earlier she might wake in the morning. Our bodies create hormones when we are overtired which cause us to have trouble staying asleep and may rise much earlier than a well-rested child.
Falling asleep more quickly. A child who is rested actually falls asleep more quickly than a child who is overtired. You may find yourself struggling a lot less with putting your little one down to bed if he is calm, rested, and become accustomed to falling asleep not out of sheer exhaustion, but after a bit of relaxation and self soothing.
Setting the stage. If you put your young child to bed early now, you’re setting him up for healthier sleep habits in the future. First of all, as he grows older and asks for a later bedtime every few years, the fact that you’re starting from an earlier time will mean that his later bedtimes won’t be all that late! You’ll also be reinforcing the idea that an early bedtime is the norm, which is something that your child will carry with him all the way into adulthood.
More time for you. Of course, an earlier bedtime for your child isn’t entirely about your child’s health. It’s also integral to your own wellness as well. Having some extra time to read, relax with your partner, or take part in self care, is important for your wellbeing as a parent!
Have you tried putting your little one to sleep a bit earlier? What kind of effect has it had on her sleep, and on your family?