7 Bedtime Habits You Can Thank Mom For

7 Bedtime Habits You Can Thank Mom For

By Jen Dennis

Life lessons from mom were some of our biggest life-savers: Tell the truth; work hard; don’t make ugly faces or you’ll get stuck like that; and (of course!) go to bed—the thing you hated doing the most and still struggle with today.

Let’s review if the things she taught you are worth revisiting for better zzz’s. Because, as they say, mom is always, definitely, maybe right.

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1. Mom said: Get to bed on time

The verdict: Mom was right.

She wasn’t being a buzzkill (well, maybe a little). Longstanding science shows that regular sleep and wake times are necessary for kids. Newer research also supports the idea that sticking to the same sleep schedule is critical for everyone. Irregular sleep and wake times can throw circadian rhythms—the internal clock that manages everything from hormones to heart rates—out of whack. One study even revealed that varying bedtimes may lead to a suppressed immune system.

2. Mom said: Go outside and play

The verdict: Mom was right.

And you thought she was just trying to get rid of you. Research shows that exercise is good for sleep, likely because it spurs the release of endorphins, which trigger rest later in the day. Also, getting some sun early in the day has been shown to improve sleep quality, probably because it helps keep circadian rhythms on track.

3. Mom said: Eat a bedtime snack

The verdict: Mom was partially right.

Remember when she brought you cookies and milk in bed? She meant well. A glass of warm milk is probably a good choice, thanks to its slumber-inducing tryptophan. However, the chocolate chip cookies to dunk in the milk are sure to give you a sugar buzz (that explains a lot!).

For the best rest, doctors recommend a bedtime snack that includes a mix of protein and complex carbs to keep nighttime hunger at bay and stabilize blood sugar. Try a small bowl of whole grain cereal with almonds or a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter.

4. Mom said: Read a book

The verdict: Mom was right.

Giving your brain the gift of quality downtime can help you fall asleep faster. And reading can be part of a relaxing pre-sleep routine, lowering stress levels in as little as six minutes, research reveals. Two caveats—skip the cell phone and e-reader—they emit sleep-disrupting blue light— and pick books that won’t keep you awake wondering what’ll happen next.

5. Mom said: Just rest. You’ll feel better in the morning

The verdict: Mom was right.

You thought she didn’t understand your feelings, and her advice was too simple. Luckily, you were wrong. Studies show that well-rested people tend to have a more positive attitude, compared to those who are sleep-deprived and more likely to focus on the negative aspects of a situation.

For the best rest, doctors recommend a bedtime snack that includes a mix of protein and complex carbs to keep nighttime hunger at bay and stabilize blood sugar. Try a small bowl of whole grain cereal with almonds or a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter.

6. Mom said: You’re too old for a nightlight

The verdict: Mom was right.

Hopefully, she didn’t say that in front of your friends. But even if she did, she was teaching you a valuable lesson. Experts say to avoid even small amounts of light, which can disturb circadian rhythms and delay the onset of REM sleep.

7. Mom said: You’re never too old for a blankie

The verdict: Mom was right.

We won’t make you admit that you still sleep with your teddy bear, although a 2017 survey conducted by Build-A-Bear showed that 40 percent of grown-ups still do. Like kids, grown-ups also need a little comfort. Research shows that sleeping with a weighted blanket can help people fall asleep faster, get better quality rest, and feel more refreshed in the morning.

Don’t forget to tell mom she was right almost all of the time.

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