Late Night and The Affect They Have On The Body

A lack of a steady routine and a set bed-time could have detrimental effects on a child’s academic abilities, according to research done by the University College London.

11,000 7-year olds were studied as the research looked into sleep patterns and brain power. The findings showed that children with no regular bed-time, or those who went to bed after 21:00, performed poorly in reading and maths when compared to children with regular and earlier bed-times. One cause that was put forward was that lack of sleep may disrupt natural body rhythms and impair how well the brain learns new information.

Data was gathered when the children were aged three, five and seven. The aim was to establish how well they were doing with their studies, and to find out if there was any correlation with sleeping patterns. The data showed that children aged three had the most inconsistent bedtimes, with one in five going to bed at variable times.

By seven years old, approximately 50% of the children had settled into a regular bed-time between 19:30 and 20:30.

The test scores showed that children who had never been subjected to a regular bedtime, performed worse in maths reading and spatial awareness. The differences were also more dramatic in girls over boys.

It was noted that the inconsistent bed-times could be a result of a chaotic family environment, and that this could be the main cause of low scores as opposed to a lack of sleep. However, the researchers tried to offset the effects of this on the results.

Overall it was found that those children with a late or inconsistent bed-time came from more disadvantaged backgrounds and were less likely to be read to each night. This is known to be linked to child development and a lack of reading would in itself contribute to lower test scores.

Prof Amanda Sacker from the University College London said “Establishing a good bedtime routine early in childhood is probably best, but it’s never too late.

She also went on to say that there did not seem to be any benefit to a child’s brain power in putting them to bed before 19:30.

The general consensus throughout this research is that no matter the social background, make sure that your children get a good nights sleep.