by Mary Fischer
Ugh. What the heck? According to a new study conducted at the University of Colorado, parents are putting toddlers to bed too early, resulting in them having all kinds of sleep issues. (Are you freakin' kidding me?)
The study was published in the journal Mind, Brain, and Education -- and basically states that whether or not a toddler has a good night's sleep depends on whether they're being put to bed in line with the time their internal body clock thinks is right.
And guess what? If you put them to bed too early and their body isn't digging it -- they could wind up lying there awake for hours. And you know what that can lead to? Insomnia and emotional problems down the road.
Awesome. Just perfect.
And now I'm so confused, I really don't know what to do with myself. I always thought the general rule of thumb was "sleep begets sleep," or something to that effect. You know, if you put the kiddo down earlier, he won't be overtired, so he'll sleep better and hopefully for a longer period of time.
But now this study is saying the opposite is true -- and that by not letting your toddler set his own bedtime, you may be screwing up his sleep patterns and making him all kinds of miserable. What are we supposed to do though -- let our kiddos call the shots about when the lights should go out every night? If I'd gone that route with my son when he was little, we probably never would've been asleep before midnight. And then he would've been up at the crack of dawn anyway -- which would have been the epitome of "this really sucks."
I think it's just time for us to face the facts. When our kids are really young, we need to pretty much give up on the fantasy of us or them ever having consistent full nights of sleep. Seriously ... maybe we should just get rid of bedtime altogether and pray that our toddlers run themselves ragged and eventually just drop to the floor out of exhaustion. At least then we're not messing with their internal body clocks and can't be held responsible for ruining their lives.
What time does your toddler go to bed? Does he sleep well?
Image via Brian A. Vikander/Corbis