Why Grandparents Shouldn't Change Around A Child's Regular Bedtime
Grandparents are prone to letting their children sleep at irregular times while they visit, particularly on the weekends. If you have found that your child's or grandchild's behavior in school has become violent or not at all what it should be, you might want to look at the time he or she goes to bed. Believe it or not, there is a direct correlation between sleep irregularities and negative change in behavior, as mentioned in an article released yesterday.
The University College of London conducted a study to figure out this correlation. Their findings were rather intriguing and possibly quite shocking. "The study, which is published in the journal Pediatrics, found that irregular bedtimes could disrupt natural body rhythms and cause sleep deprivation, undermining brain maturation and the ability to regulate certain behaviours," presents the news article.
According to Professor Yvonne Kelly of the UCL Epidemiology & Public Health department, the constant change in bedtimes puts the body in a situation akin to jet lag, with problems facing healthy development of the mind and body. This greatly impedes on one's daily functioning as well. That might explain the annoyance and frustration that comes so easily to the sleep deprived.
Data on 10,000 children was collected, looking at their sleep patterns at ages 3, 5, 7 and 9, alongside their school reports from teachers and parents alike.
What problems did irregular bedtimes cause for children?
Those children who had no regular time to go to bed and wake up had their circadian rhythms thoroughly disrupted, leading to hyperactivity, conduct problems, increased violence and emotional difficulties, as well as higher rates of communication problems with peers. One these children switch to a regular bedtime, however, many of these are diffused and their behavior is clearly improved.
What the study also mentions is that the behavior problems are stacked over time from a very young age. Children with irregular bedtimes from a very young age were worse off than those who had originally had proper sleeping patterns. Thank goodness the effects are reversible and not entirely permanent. It simply impedes on the brain's proper development.
Note: The most common age for irregular times is at 3, with the most stable around the age of 7, going to bed between 7:30 and 8:30. Those who slept after 9 came from disadvantaged families and were more prone to problems in general.
For teens and adults, studies have also linked texting to sleep problems, which later lead to negative behavior changes.
Quality sleep is also known to make one more grateful, which in turn makes everyone happier and healthier.
For parents and grandparents with children and grandchildren at any age, it's a good idea to ensure they go to bed at a decent time, same time every day, and rest their mind and body for the prescribed hours. Until they reach adulthood, a minimum of 9 hours is heavily recommended with up to 3 hours of naps for infants and toddlers, ranging up to 11 hours a night for schoolchildren. Adults should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night.