child bedtime

Going to bed at the same time every night could give your child’s brain a boost, a recent study found:

Researchers at University College London found that when 3-year-olds have a regular bedtime they perform better on cognitive tests administered at age 7 than children whose bedtimes weren’t consistent. The findings represent a new twist on an expanding body of research showing that inadequate sleep in children and adolescents hurts academic performance and overall health.

The latest study considered other factors that can influence bedtime and cognitive development, such as kids skipping breakfast or having a television in their bedroom. After accounting for these, the study found that going to bed very early or very late didn’t affect cognitive performance, so long as the bedtime was consistent.

“The surprising thing was the later bedtimes weren’t significantly affecting children’s test scores once we took other factors into account,” said Amanda Sacker, director of the International Center for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health at University College London and a co-author of the study. “I think the message for parents is…maybe a regular bedtime even slightly later is advisable.”

The researchers suggested that having inconsistent bedtimes may hurt a child’s cognitive development by disrupting circadian rhythms. It also might result in sleep deprivation and therefore affect brain plasticity—changes in the synapses and neural pathways—at critical ages of brain development.

The children were participants in the U.K.’s Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative longterm study of infants born between 2000 and 2002.  Mothers were asked about their children’s bedtimes at 3, 5 and 7 years of age. Nearly 20% of the 3-year-olds didn’t have a regular bedtime. That figure dropped to 9.1% at age 5 and 8.2% at age 7. Mothers were also asked about socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and family routines.

When the children were 7 years old, they received cognitive assessments in reading, math and spatial abilities. The poorest test scores were recorded by children who went to bed very early or very late, and by those who had inconsistent bedtimes, said Dr. Sacker. But once other factors in the home were taken into account only the inconsistent bedtime was associated with lower scores, she said.

A consistent pattern of sleep behavior mattered. “Those who had irregular bedtimes at all three ages had significantly poorer scores than those who had regular bedtimes,” Dr. Sacker said. This was especially true for girls who didn’t establish consistent bedtimes between 3 and 7 years old.

Chris
cskidd1983@gmail.com
Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

0 thoughts on “School is ‘the last moral force’”

  1. What morals do students learn from school administrators more interested in personal political advancement than sound educational policies and practices designed to positively influence students?

    What morals are taught by administrators who change grades given students by teachers in order to indicate a higher percentage of passing students at the school entrusted to their supervision?

    What morals are taught by administrators who are more intent on covering up inappropriate student behavior incidents than taking effective corrective action?

    Do you suppose inappropriate school administration is the primary cause behind the tremendous rate of teacher turnover in public schools in America?

    Perhaps a change in perspective in which public education is viewed as a privilege would significantly improve the quality of education students receive. Certainly students in Iraq and African nations, long denied educational opportunity, strive more diligently than American students to take advantage of available educational opportunities. Active student participation in the learning process is a most critical factor in gaining a sound education designed to facilitate success in later adult life. The onus for such active participation must properly be on the student, rather than the teacher.

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