RRRRRRRRRRing, RRRRRRRring….. your alarm clock signals it’s time to start your day. Even if it is rather reluctantly, the piercing scream forces you to get moving.
It is standard practise to employ an alarm to signal the start of your day. Do you have an alarm to signal your bedtime ?
I am guessing not.
Bedtime is flexible
For most of us, the time you go to bed varies………. for the most part, you climb into bed, when everything that needs to be done, is done.
The same tenet, is frequently applied to the kids.
But going to bed at different times every night throughout early childhood, is tiring on the brain. It seems, irregular bedtimes curb young kids’ brain power.
Time for bed….
Researchers tracked the bed times of 11 000 “normal” British children over a seven year period.
To keep tabs on the bedtimes, the researchers visited the home of each child, during the visit, both the parent(s) and children, were quizzed on their normal bedtime routine. Along with the bedtime ritual, the demographics and socioeconomic circumstances of the family were recorded.
The home visits happened when the kids were 3, 5 and 7 years old.
When the kids turned 7, they underwent a series of standardized tests, designed to assess their brain power, specifically how well they could read, do maths and their spacial abilities.
So what really happens at bedtime in British homes.
Around one in five three year olds go to bed, whenever….. They also get up whenever too, so for the most part, actual sleep time is not significantly reduced.
But, by the time the kids reached the age of 7, more than half of them were going to bed between 7.30 and 8.30 pm. Clearly the prospect of having to get up for school, curbs late nights and morning lie ins.
Interestingly, the socioeconomic status of the family had a major influence on the bedtime routine. Kids from poorer homes, were more likely to have irregular bed times. A consequence of more frazzled moms ?
A kids bedtime should be fixed
The study found that the smartest kids, tended to have fixed bedtimes, throughout their childhood. And kids who had never had a regular bed times, were especially disadvantaged, the effect was bigger in girls than boys.
The NEED for a fixed bedtime was greatest in 3 year olds i.e. you could outgrow the habit, but the consequences for the developing brain, were permanent.
Sleep on it
The brain needs to get it’s full sleep quota. Little brains need a lot more sleep, than full developed brains, a lot more….
For the record, a 7 year old should be getting 10-11 hours a night. It is not a typo !
But, there is more to sleep than just getting the quota, getting it in at a consistent time, is critical for little brains. Big brains/bodies probably also benefit.
The value of a bedtime alarm
Everybody could do with a bedtime alarm, a loud obnoxious RRRRRRRING……..that reminds you to stop what you’re doing and beginning getting ready for bed.
But if you have little ones at home, you need an alarm for you and one for the kids.
It is not just early to bed, early to rise, that makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
It’s consistently to bed that gives a man a powerful head.
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