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Erratic bedtimes can give your kids 'jetlag'

CHILDREN who do not have a regular bedtime are more likely to suffer behavioural problems, according to research.

Erratic bedtimes can cause a similar effect to jetlag and the longer youngsters go without regular bedtimes, the greater the impact on their behaviour, experts have found.

They believe going to bed at different times could disrupt natural body rhythms and cause sleep deprivation.

In turn, this undermines the way the brain matures and the ability to regulate some behaviours. But they also found the effect is reversible – parents who started putting their children to bed at consistent times noticed an improvement in their behaviour, as did teachers.

The study on more than 10,000 children was carried out by experts at University College London (UCL).



The data was collected via the UK Millennium Cohort Study, with bedtimes noted at ages three, five and seven, and information on behaviour collected from parents and teachers.

Irregular bedtimes were most common at the age of three, when around one in five children went to bed at varying times.

However, by the age of seven, more than half of children went to bed regularly between 7.30pm and 8.30pm and just 9pc went after 9pm.

The experts found that those youngsters who experienced erratic bedtimes throughout childhood displayed progressively worse behaviour.

But those children who went from varying bedtimes aged three or five, to a regular bedtime by age seven, displayed a notable improvement in behaviour.