mother with a baby
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
March 26, 2024 ·  5 min read

Study Finds Moms Are Happier When Their Kids Have Early Bedtimes

Going to bed earlier would probably benefit most of us. This is especially true for our kids. Did you know, however, that early bedtimes for children actually have a positive impact on moms’ mood and happiness? The best part is there is actual science to back it up.

Early Bedtimes Make Moms Happier

Ah bedtime – some parents love it, others dread the nightly battle to get their kids to go to – and stay in – bed. Science shows, however, that the earlier you put the kiddies to bed will not only improve their sleep quality, health, and mood but yours, too. (1)

That’s right: Moms benefit from putting their kids to bed earlier.

First of all, when the kids go to bed earlier, moms have more time to themselves. Time to maybe get some leftover work done, to relax, or spend quality kid-free time with their partner if they have one. (2, 9

Second, grumpy kids equal grumpy parents. The earlier the kids go to bed, the more likely they are to be well-rested, and the less likely they are to be in a bad mood the next day. Happy kids, happy mom, and vice-versa. (2, 9)

Let’s dig into the science behind this a bit to either encourage you to put your kids to bed earlier, or to provide you with adequate ammo to defend your kids’ early bedtimes to others.

The Science Behind Early Bedtimes

There is no question that going to bed early improves kids’ health – both immediately and in the future. Many studies have been done on different aspects of this. Some of the conclusions about early bedtimes include:

  • Higher motor, language, and social skills (3, 6)
  • Increased emotional stability (4, 5)
  • Improved physical health and less likely to be obese teenagers (7)
  • Fewer late-night wakings (8)
  • Less early rising (8)
  • Less resistance towards bedtime (8)
  • Kids fall asleep faster and have a higher sleep quality (8)

The most restorative sleep in a child’s sleep cycle is the earlier portion and an earlier bedtime helps them to catch more of those high-quality zzz’s. (8) Essentially, when kids go to bed earlier, they sleep better. Better sleep means that they will have a more positive attitude (aka less grumpy), be more alert, and have a higher capacity to focus, pay attention, and learn. (6)

Well-rested kids will also have more energy to run around and play, be better able to make friends, and perform better in school. (8)

What Does “Early Bedtime” Mean?

Jon Quach, a research fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, defines an early bedtime as being asleep by 8:30 pm. This is because of the level of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin peaks around 8 in school-aged children. (9)

The higher levels of melatonin in your child’s system will help them fall asleep easier, faster, and get more of the high-quality, restorative sleep that they don’t get when they go to bed late. (9)

Of course, these benefits aren’t just tied to going to bed earlier, but also to have a well-established, healthy bedtime, and sleep routine. (8)

Read: When She Is Gone, You Will Realize Your Mom Was Your One True Friend

The Importance of a Bedtime Routine

Your children’s bedtime routine is just as important as what time they are going to bed. If set up properly, these routines can be an enjoyable part of both the parents’ and child’s evening. This can be a time used to bond with your child and discuss things that happened that day or things they are looking forward to tomorrow.

Items to include in a bedtime routine can be:

  • Brushing teeth and putting on pajamas
  • Going to the washroom one last time
  • A final drink of water
  • Reading a book together and/or singing a song
  • Some cuddles and a kiss goodnight
  • Getting tucked in
  • Lights out

Make sure that post-dinner activities are calm, quiet ones that promote relaxation. Keep screentime to a minimum, if at all, and keep electronics out of the bedroom. All of these things will promote a calmer mind and a higher quality of sleep. (8, 9)

The Benefits of Early Bedtimes for Mom (and Dad, too!)

Just like their kids, parents are better people when they are well-rested, too. Early bedtimes give parents more quiet time to themselves, which relaxes them and allows for better sleep. Most importantly, the less their kids wake up in the night, the fewer sleep disturbances moms and dads experience. (9)

When everyone sleeps soundly through the night, they are all in a better mood the next morning.

“We know that sleep is a really relevant part of our mental health, our mood. We know in kids, it’s related to behavioral [issues] and the ability to self-control,” says Seattle Pediatrician Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson. “When we think about mom, it makes a lot of sense to me that if kids are early to bed, mom is going to wind down, get things done and feel like things are under control.” (9)

In summary, going to bed earlier will help your kids to be happier, healthier, and smarter. This, in turn, makes you a happier, healthier parent. When the whole family is well-rested and in a good mood, the days (and nights) are much more enjoyable.

So go ahead – put your kids to bed early and take that “me time” you so badly want. It will be good for the whole family’s health.

Keep Reading: Babywearing NICU Nurses Show Preemie Babies Extra Love While Their Families Are Away


  1. “Relationship between child sleep disturbances and maternal sleep, mood, and parenting stress: A pilot study.” APA Psycnet. Meltzer, Lisa J. Mindell, Jodi A.
  2. It’s science: Early bedtimes—and the routines behind them—make *everyone* happier.Motherly. Anne-Marie Gambelin.
  3. Influence of sleep-onset time on the development of 18-month-old infants: Japan Children’s cohort study.” NCBI. Akiko Iemura, Et al. 2015.
  4. Manipulating Sleep Duration Alters Emotional Functioning and Cognitive Performance in Children.” Academic. Jennifer L. Vriend, PhD, Et al. May 2013.
  5. Impact of Sleep Extension and Restriction on Children’s Emotional Lability and Impulsivity.” Pediatrics. Reut Gruber, Et al. November 2012.
  6. Poor toddler-age sleep schedules predict school-age behavioral disorders in a longitudinal survey.” NCBI. Katsuhiro Kobayashi, Et al. June 2015.
  7. Why Teens Should Know Their BMI.” US News. Marc Michalsky, M.D. September 16, 2015.
  8. 10 Benefits of an Early Bedtime for Your Child.US News. Kim West. March 30, 2017.
  9. Study: Putting kids to bed early means better mental health… for mom.” Today. A. Pawlowski. November 5, 2015.