Pediatrician
Dr. Shapiro completed his undergraduate education at UC San Diego, earning a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and a B.A. in Political Science. He furthered his education at UCLA where he earned a Masters Degree in Public…
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The Secret to Better Behaved Kids? A Regular Bedtime
Posted in Parenting Big K... by Dr. Jeremy F. Shapiro on Oct 31, 2013
Many of you know I do enjoy writing about research studies that evolve from common sense themes. And after perusing next month’s journal, Pediatrics, I found one study that I’d like to highlight for all my fellow parents here at DailyStrength. Its focus is on one simple concept: the importance of our children having consistent bedtimes.

So what the researchers did was analyze data from more than 10,000 children at ages 3, 5, and 7 in the United Kingdom. At these time points, researchers assessed both the bedtimes and overall behavior of these children. Something worth noting was the researchers not only used reports from the children’s mothers (not sure why not the fathers as well), but they also referred to the children’s teachers when assessing the behavioral status.

Why am I impressed by this? Well, firstly, it’s not a simple task for the researchers to reach out to the teachers, but really, who better to assess the behavior of a child in pre-school or grade school 5 days per week than a child’s teacher.

And the results? Pretty much what common sense would dictate: those children without a regular bedtime had worse behavioral scores. And when these children moved to a regular bedtime schedule, well, the behavioral scores improved quite nicely. And although explanations for this may not have come from this study, the thought is there is probably some impact of irregular bedtimes on a child’s circadian rhythm.

So something for parents to keep in mind and for me, as a pediatrician, to remember to discuss with my patients and their families, is regular bedtimes are key. And after all, don’t we all as adults do a bit better when we’re in a rhythm with our sleep patterns as well?

- Dr. Jeremy


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I think allowances have to be made for circadian rhythms. I was a night-owl born into a family of early-birds. (Also, I'm pretty sure my mother wanted to "get the kid in bed" ASAP so she could have some time with Dad.)

But I always had earlier bedtimes than my schoolmates. I begged for later bedtimes with each birthday. (Sometimes this worked.) But I was NEVER tired when I was forced to go to bed, and it was a punishable offense to still be awake 15 minutes after going to bed. I can remember lying in bed, crying, for what seemed like ages, because I couldn't go to sleep.

Now, as a 66-year-old retired grandmother, I go to bed when I bloody well please - and it may be 3:00 in the morning - and I get up when I am ready to. IT'S SO MUCH NICER THIS WAY! After years of having to go to bed when parents, school, or work circumstances dictated, it is PARADISE to sleep when I feel like it.
By madbookworm  Nov 05, 2013
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