Irregular bedtimes can leave children with behavioural problems and symptoms similar to jet leg, research has shown. An investigation by University College London showed how children put to bed at the same time everyday were more likely to behave.
A "fixed bedtime" is the "single most important thing" parents can do to ensure their child does well at school and has the energy to be on their best behaviour, a child's sleep expert has told Daybreak.
Early childhood has a profound effect on the health and wellbeing of youngsters, a survey has found.
Young children who did not have a regular bedtime at the age of three, were more likely to become unruly as they grew up.
Not having fixed bedtimes, accompanied by a constant sense of flux, induces a state of body and mind akin to jet lag and this matters for healthy development and daily functioning.
It follows that disruptions to sleep, especially if they occur at key times in development, could have important lifelong impacts on health. What we've shown is that these effects build up incrementally over childhood, so that children who always had irregular bedtimes were worse off than those children who did have a regular bedtime at one or two of the ages when they were surveyed.
– Professor Yvonne Kelly, from UCL's department of epidemiology and public health