Getting your kid to go to bed at a decent hour has always been cause for celebration, and now it’s not just because you might get laid. A study recently published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that preschoolers who went to bed by 8 PM were significantly less likely to develop obesity in their teenage years than those who went to bed after 9 PM. That’s huge! (No pun intended.)
The study looked at data from 977 children across 9 states who originally participated Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a separate government-funded project that followed them from birth until adolescence. When parents were asked about their kids’ bedtimes at age 4 and a half, 25 percent of them reported they went to bed before 8 PM, 25 percent went to bed after 9 PM, and everyone else fell somewhere in between. Even when researchers factored in birth weight, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and the mother’s weight, children who went to bed after 9 PM were twice as likely to develop obesity by the time they reached 15 years old. Essentially, the early birds get the bods.
That’s not to say that an extra bedtime story is the same as an extra piece of cake, but if it’s happening every night it might not be helping. Sure, getting your kid to sleep before 8 PM is easier said than done, but these findings give you another really good reason to keep trying. All you have to do is remember your B’s (and that none of them start with a “son of a”), and everything will be alright.