Early Bedtime Benefits
Most of the calls our certified sleep experts at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby receive, revolve around parents with children who are not getting the sleep they need by waking up through the night, waking up much earlier than their bodies need, or are incredibly fussy about bedtime and fighting sleep.
We are often working with children who do not seem tired at bedtime, thus the parents are imposing a later bedtime for them with hopes they will sleep through the night, though more often than not, that is not the case, and the kiddos are still waking up very early.
Our kids start at a very early age to try to outsmart us parents (it really is true, haha!) Babies and toddlers most often try this tactic at bedtime, knowing they will get to stay up later, when in fact, the later bedtime is detrimental to their sleep, brain, and body health.
How do I know when bedtime should be?
- The most common bedtime is between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. for children who are over three months of age. There may be exceptions to this rule, though for the majority of the children, this is the ideal window for optimal rest, and we will go through reasons on why this bedtime is beneficial.
Early bedtime = more time for you!
- Let’s face it, being a parent is exhausting. Whether you are a stay at home, or working parent, by the time the evening rolls around, you are exhausted from the day. Spending time with your partner, and relaxing, or having “me” time, is incredibly important to your sanity and health. Never feel guilty for wanting some time to yourself in the evening regardless of if it is taking a long bath, catching up on your favorite shows, or just relaxing, that time is vital to you getting adequate relaxation and sleep, for the next day ahead.
Eliminate the “overtired” feeling for your baby
- If you recall, in our previous blog “Why Does My Baby Wake Up at 3:00 a.m.?”, we discussed the circadian rhythm that occurs between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. If you missed it, this means that Melatonin production is at its peak and the body becomes biologically primed for sleep. Taking advantage of this window is key to getting your baby to sleep before their melatonin dips and they are wide awake again.
This is similar to how we feel as adults when we feel exhausted and could sleep anywhere around 7:00 p.m. and then we fight it, and before we know it, it is 11:30 p.m. and we are still up reading or on our phones, or otherwise stimulating our self to stay awake. When we fight the melatonin spike and push through it, our body will begin to pump stimulating hormones that give us that second-wind boost.
As adults, we are able to fight through it without being too cranky to our partners, though babies are not as adept at managing their feelings and they exhibit signs of over-tiredness such as being cranky, fussing, crying, and even behavioral issues. By getting our children to bed during that optimal 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. window, we can reduce and even eliminate these behaviors in our children, and the goal of everyone in the house waking well-rested is easier to maintain.
Early to bed means better sleep health
- Each of us cycle through various stages of sleep, from light to deep, during the night. The cycles of deep sleep we go through are more prevalent in the hours prior to midnight. During this time, our brains replace vital cells, repair muscles, and release growth hormones imperative to our full-body health.
These cycles of sleep are vital to everyday growth, brain health, and body physiology, thus the early bedtime between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. is imperative to your child getting as much of that optimal sleep as possible.
Reduce early wake-up times
- When our child is over-tired, there is more chance for frequent wakeups during the night resulting in less-than-optimal sleep causing your baby to wake up early.
When we are overtired, adrenaline and cortisol, the hormones responsible for stimulation are prevalent disrupt our melatonin output, our sleepy hormone, and raise the likelihood of a more fussy, cranky baby through the day, creating a cycle of being overtired again the next night, and before long, it is a pattern.
Meeting your child’s sleep needs
- 10 to 12 hours of sleep is the ideal amount that is needed for babies from three months to adolescence children. We discussed the optimal bedtime is between 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., thus giving them that full night of sleep needed for their age. Typically, “sleeping in” happens later in adolescence, and for many years of your child’s life, they will be early birds.
If you are not a morning person, you may want to up your game of rock, paper, and scissors with your partner to see who gets the extra shuteye on the weekends, or a sleepover at their grandparent’s house is a fun opportunity for them to spend quality time with extended family, and much needed one on one time with your partner.
As always, any of our certified sleep experts at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby are here to help you with any of your sleep-related needs with your child(ren). Give us a call or send us a message and we will get back to you shortly. Keep in mind, while we are located in Denver, CO, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX & Kansas City we are able to work with you virtually from your location!