Bedtime behaviour

Parents the world over know that routine is everything when it comes to children. While children need room to explore their world and find their way, they also benefit hugely from having a scaffold of routine and security on which to hang their independent discovery and even rebellion. That routine has physical and psychological benefits for children even to the extent that having a regular bedtime can improve children’s behaviour.

This was found in new research from the UK that more than 10,000 children aged 3, 5, and 7. The data collected included the time that the children went to bed as well as reports from parents and teachers on behaviour.

The results showed a clear and significant statistical link between regularity of bedtime and behaviour. As children progressed through early childhood if they did not have a regular bedtime then their behaviour scores became steadily worse. The encouraging news though, was that children who switched to a more regular bedtime showed clear improvements in their behavioural scores.

What was also shown was that the effects of irregular bedtimes build up incrementally over the course of childhood. Children who always had irregular bedtimes scored worse for behaviour than those who had regular bedtimes at one or two of the ages when they were measured.

The study found that irregular bedtimes were most common at age 3 but that by age 7 more than half of the children went to bed regularly between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

The researchers found that the reason for these results is that irregular bedtimes disrupt the bodyclock causing sleep deprivation and having adverse effects on the developing brain. Given the importance of early childhood for later development it would be worth trying to implement some regularity in bedtime routine as soon as possible.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

You May Also Like

Toddler To Teenager And Giving Them Room To Grow

Toddler to teenager and giving them room to grow

Baby And You Preparing For Great Health For You Both

Baby and you! Preparing for great health for you both

Wellbeing & Eatwell Cover Image 1001x667 2023 08 16t100954.155

Discover The Role of Play in Parent-Child Relationships

Wellbeing & Eatwell Cover Image 1001x667 2023 06 14t113459.830

7 ways to talk about sex