Regular bedtimes linked to better language, reading and math skills in preschool children

Jun 07, 2010

Children in households with bedtime rules and children who get adequate sleep score higher on a range of developmental assessments, according to a research abstract that will be presented Monday, June 7, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Results indicate that among sleep habits, having a regular bedtime was the most consis¬tent predictor of positive developmental outcomes at 4 years of age. Scores for receptive and expressive language, phonological awareness, literacy and early math abilities were higher in whose parents reported having rules about what time their child goes to bed. Having an earlier bedtime also was predictive of higher scores for most developmental measures.

The study also provides a wealth of information about typical in 4-year-old children. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, preschool children should get a minimum of 11 hours of sleep each night. Getting less than this recommended amount of sleep, the study's authors found, was associated with lower scores on phonological awareness, literacy and early math skills. The data show that many children are not getting the recommended amount of sleep, which may have for their development and school achievement.

"Getting parents to set bedtime routines can be an important way to make a significant impact on children's emergent literacy and language skills," said lead author Erika Gaylor, PhD, early childhood policy researcher for SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, Calif. "Pediatricians can easily promote regular bedtimes with parents and children, behaviors which in turn lead to healthy sleep."

Gaylor recommended that parents can help their preschooler get sufficient sleep by setting an appropriate time for their child to go to bed and interacting with their child at bedtime using routines such as reading books or telling stories.

The study involved a nationally representative sample of approximately 8,000 children who completed a direct assessment at 4 years of age as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort. This analysis included information from parent phone interviews when their child was 9 months old and again when their child was 4 years old. Nighttime sleep duration was based on parent-reported usual bedtime and wake time. Developmental outcomes were assessed using a shortened set of items from standardized assessments. Results were controlled for potential confounders such as child and bedtime characteristics.

"This is by far the largest study of its kind to date. Previous studies have included up to 500 children in this age group," Gaylor said. "It's fortunate to have this rich dataset available for analysis."

Last year a study in the August 2009 issue of Sleep Medicine also emphasized the importance of an early bedtime and consistent bedtime routine for children. It reported that children with a bedtime after 9 p.m. took longer to fall asleep and had a shorter total sleep time. Children without a consistent routine also were reported to obtain less .

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...