Irregular bedtimes linked to kids' behavior problems
Keeping kids on a schedule has its benefits. A study published in Pediatrics reveals that arbitrary bedtimes can disturb body rhythms and regulating behaviors, and may play a role in sleep deprivation. One researcher compared the effects of irregular bedtimes to jet lag.
A team from University College London analyzed bedtime data collected from 10,000 U.K. children ages three, five, and seven. They also reviewed behavioral reports from the children’s mothers and teachers. An obvious connection was found between irregular bedtimes and disturbed circadian-rhythms, which affects brain development through sleep deprivation.
As some of these children aged, those with irregular bedtimes had worsening behavioral scores. These scores comprised hyperactivity, as well as emotional, social and conduct problems. When children were switched to a regular bedtime schedule, these behaviors improved.
Possible interventions of family routines and incorporating sleep patterns into pediatrician visits could be used, one researcher noted, in addressing behavioral problems in children.