We all hear about the importance of getting eight hours sleep a night. However, some research suggests it is less important how much sleep your kids get and more important what time we put them to bed.
A Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development analysed data from 977 children and has found the perfect bedtime. They analysed what time parents put their kids to bed at age four-and-a-half and then looked at several health factors to find out which was the ideal time to head upstairs. The research found 8pm was the optimal bedtime for children.
Researchers looked at the BMI's of the children once they reached 15-years-old and found that the earlier children went to bed, the healthier their BMI in the future. Only 10% of children who went to bed at 8pm or earlier were obese. 16% of those who went to bed between 8pm and 9pm were obese, rising to 23% for children who went to bed at 9pm and later.
Lack of sleep is often linked to obesity as it can disrupt the balance of the hormones that control appetite, making sleep-deprived children more hungry.
Another study examined the sleeping habits of over 3,600 children and found that children who went to bed before 8.30pm had a better quality of life and better mental health. The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute suggested earlier bedtimes for children were more important even than having a long sleep.
One study by the University Hospital of Zurich found that children with a good bedtime regime were more ready for school often having better concentration and memory. This is backed up by research from scientists at University College London which found that an irregular bedtime might impair early development as it disrupts the body clock which can affect your child's ability to remember and learn information.
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