It has been stated over and over before that the amount of sleep children get tends to affect their development. On average, children below 12 years old should get up to 13 hours of sleep a day, including day time naps, depending on their age, in order to ensure that they get all the rest they need and boost their growth.
However, did you know that setting a regular bed time can also be a great thing for your little ones as well? According to two separate studies conducted at the University College in London, consistent bed times can affect cognitive performance in children years later, as well as their behavior. According to these surveys, you shouldn’t just bank on the number of hours your kids get to ensure their wellness, but also have to pay attention to the consistency of their bed times, as it also affects them greatly.
Regular Sleep and Children’s Cognitive Performance
A long term study in the ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health at UCL looked into the effects of inconsistent bedtime in children and their brain power. The team surveyed more than 11,000 children, held various testings and visited the subjects in their homes when the children were 3, 5, and 7 years old to inquire about their family routines, most especially those related to their bedtimes.
The survey has shown that most of the children in the study does not typically adhere to a sleeping schedule at age 3, while a lot of the kids aged 7 normally go to bed around 8 in the evening. When the data was compared later on, it has shown that the children who experienced and irregular sleeping schedule when they were 3 years old were a bit behind in math, reading, and spatial awareness. Much of the information gathered also led authors to conclude that children at the age three are at a massively crucial cognitive development phase, that letting them get regular and enough sleep is definitely an essential.
The study also concluded that regular sleep allows the children’s body to let the body’s circadian rhythm flow undisrupted, helping children acquire and retain information better. This is why it is highly important for your children to get not just enough zzz’s clocked in every night, but regular bed times as well, because disrupted body clocks may also cause sleep deprivation, which can inhibit the child’s optimal growth.
Regular Sleep and Children’s Behavior
When you have kids, you know that they can get rowdy and energetic. Most parents do not pay any attention to such acts, as they consider it as just typical childish playfulness. However, some kids do tend to take it up a notch and become disruptive.
In a separate study conducted by Professor Yvonne Kelly of UCL Epidemiology & Public Health, pediatric experts looked at the sleeping patterns of children and related it to how they behave during the daytime. The research concluded that irregular bedtimes easily cause sleep deprivation through its disruption of the children’s body rhythms. This, in turn, undermines brain maturation, leading to unregulated behaviors of certain kinds.
In adults, it is perfectly easy to correlate grumpiness and moodiness to lack of sleep. In children, the connection may not exactly be seen as simple as that. As kids tend to be naturally playful and moody, being loud can be typically read as children being children. Some even chalk it up to kids acting out or immediately decides their kid has other more serious issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Once you think about it, though, disruptive behaviors may actually be because the children are too sleepy to function properly.
Without an enforced bedtime, most children will not have the discipline to actually sleep unless they’re exhausted from playing. Of course, falling asleep tired and having to wake up early next morning to get to school can be an unideal chore and cause difficulties for young people, causing unmanageable behavior.
Enforcing an Actual Bedtime
If you don’t have a set bedtime for your little one just yet, it’s never late to start one right away. For school-age children, you just need to count back 10-11 hrs before they have to get up for school and allot at least 30 minutes for bedtime routines. These will help your child ease into the new sleeping schedule, allowing them to get more out of their slumber.
Experts note that sticking to a bedtime everyday, even during the weekends or school breaks, is also highly important. This will ensure that you’re still keeping the proper rhythm of their Circadian clocks, preventing chances of sleep deprivation. Punishing kids with an earlier bedtime and rewarding them with the chance of staying up late is also discouraged, as it sends the wrong message to young children. Keep in mind that sleep is already the last thing they want to do in their fun filled lives, so using it as a punishment will further discourage them from having a healthy sleeping habit.
A comfortable bed can also be of great help to you in sending your children to sleep. Here at Salem beds, we offer a wide range of mattresses that can be perfect for the demands and requirements of growing kids, ensuring you that your little one can get the most out of their sleep.