Does Your Child Get Enough SLEEP? If Not, Could It Negatively Affect Their BRAIN?

Do your kids get enough sleep?  According to research, late nights and inconsistent bedtimes may negatively affect a child’s brain.

The BBC is reporting on a new study of more than 11,000 kids in Great Britain.

Children who had no regular bedtime or who went to bed later than 9PM had lower scores for reading and math

It’s believed that lack of sleep may disrupt natural body rhythms and impair how well the brain learns new information.

The researchers gathered sleep data children at the ages of three, five and then seven to find out how well they were doing with their learning and whether this might be related to their sleeping habits.

Erratic bedtimes were most common at the age of three, when around one in five of the children went to bed at varying times.

Overall, children who had never had regular bedtimes tended to fare worse than their peers in terms of test scores for reading, math and spatial awareness.

The impact appeared to be cumulative, and interestingly, it was more obvious in girls than in boys.

Lead researcher Amanda Sacker from University College in London, says it’s possible that inconsistent bedtimes were a reflection of chaotic family settings and it was that–rather than disrupted sleep–that had an impact on learning.

However, after controlling for family environment, the link between poorer mental performance and lax bedtimes remained.

Prof Sacker says: “The take-home message is really that routines really do seem to be important for children.  Establishing a good bedtime routine early in childhood is probably best, but it’s never too late.”

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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Shine Family Expert