Scientists have confirmed what many already suspected — that a regular bedtime is key to good behavior from your children.
The researchers, conducted at University College London, looked at data on more than 10,000 children. The children were part of a long-term study of babies born in the UK in 2000 to 2002 that regularly surveyed parents about sleep and behavioral problems. Children in the subject group that had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or an autism spectrum disorder were not included in the study.
When the children in the study were three years old, about one-fifth sometimes or never went to bed at a consistent time. That fell to nine percent when the kids hit five years old, and eight percent seven-year-olds.
Children without a regular bedtime tended to score worse on a measure of behavior problems such as acting unhappy, getting into fights and being inconsiderate. Teachers of seven-year-olds were asked to report on their behavior as well. They also gave worse scores to children who didn’t have a regular bedtime.
The results of the study were reported in the journal Pediatrics.