They Say: Let the Wildebeests Run Wild for Sleep

kids-runningFinally, a little proof that what we’ve all been hoping would happen really does. New research says active kids get to sleep more easily.

So let the little wildebeests run wild, because Mommy and Daddy need a cuddle.

We’re not going to discredit the mom/dad intuition here – ever take a kid to the park for a playdate and watch them run wild, then lean over to the other parent to say “she’ll sleep tonight!” We’ve pretty much been clued in for years to what researchers in New Zealand say they’ve made scientific fact with this study.

Taking nearly six hundred seven-year-olds into account, the study found kids who spend more time in sedentary activities take longer to fall asleep when they go to bed. For kids who spent a full hour doing “vigorous” activity, the amount of time it took to fall asleep at night would drop by as much as six minutes.

But parents would be wise to move the exercise portion of the day back if their kids are active AND still have trouble sleeping. Studies have also shown that exercise in and of itself will not make you tired. To the contrary – that rush of endorphins can wake you back up, and yet another new study (this one on adults) found that active people napped less. The latter was a very small study (just fourteen people), so the findings may not have the same import. But it’s worth noting that the researchers point to quality of sleep – and length – rather than when the people feel asleep.

So what to do? Figure out what works for your kid timewise, but get them off the couch. Your relationship with your partner will thank you for it.

Image: Hoyas Meg via Flickr

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