If you’ve given up on the idea of getting your preschooler to bed early, then you may want to persevere a little longer. A new study suggests that preschoolers who have an earlier bedtime are less at risk of becoming obese as a teen.
WebMD reports about an Ohio State University College of Public Health study that suggests kids who are preschool age and get some shuteye by 8 p.m. have a much lower risk of being overweight or obese by the age of 15. Lead author of the study Sarah Anderson explains the importance of the findings saying, “For parents, this reinforces the importance of establishing a bedtime routine. It's something concrete that families can do to lower their child's risk.” Andersen also believes that the earlier bedtime helps children develop socially and emotionally.
And it does seem like 8 is the magic number here. The nearly 1,000 4 year olds involved in the study were divided into 3 groups: those who were in bed by 8 p.m., those who got to bed between 8 and 9, and those who were real night owls - getting to bed after 9. Researchers found that a whopping 23% of kids who went to bed after 9 when they were 4 developed obesity by the age of 15. The kids with the between 8 and 9 bedtime have a lower risk of 16% and the earliest 8 p.m. bedtime had the lowest risk at just 10%.
But there are probably other factors in play rather than stubborn kids who don’t want to go to bed. Researchers found that kids with a later bedtime were more likely to have less-educated moms and lived in lower-income households. Parents who struggle with odd working hours or who are simply over-worked may not be able to keep kids on an optimum schedule. Andersen explains, “It's important to recognize that having an early bedtime may be more challenging for some families than for others. Families have many competing demands and there are tradeoffs that get made. For example, if you work late, that can push bedtimes later in the evening.”
What do you think about the study that suggests getting kids to bed earlier can lower obesity risk?
What is your bedtime routine like? Do you think your kids are going to bed early enough?
My kids go to bed around 7:30 or 8:30 pretty regularly during the school year. The main reason is I have to get them up around 5:50 a.m. to get ready before the bus. My son does better if he goes to bed around that time and its easier for him to focus. A lot of people might think that's to early but it helps them focus at school which is important. I'm happy to read this study and see the benefits.
It makes sense on one hand that if you go to bed earlier your risks for obesity are lowered. You won't have as much time in the evenings to snack. On the other hand you might then eat heavier or snack more at other times of the day. In my home my daughter goes to bed later but also wakes up later. To me it's more important that she gets a set number or hours rest as opposed to what time those hours occur. Granted she's not in school yet and I work from home so this works for us while it might not work for others.