“Mom, I need a drink. Can you read to me? How about a snack?”
We’ve all heard our children’s pleas to stay up longer at night. They beg, distract, tell is loving things and want to talk when bedtime is looming. But not giving in to those adorable requests could be a boost to their brains!
In fact, consistent bedtime raised the scores on cognitive tests for 7-year-olds who were put to bed on time when they were age 3 (University College London). Overall, when kids don’t get enough sleep, it hurts their academic performance and overall health. The important finding of the study wasn’t whether or not the bedtime was early or late, but that it was CONSISTENT. Regular bedtime was the key.
Inconsistent bedtime has to do with circadian disruption, which may affect brain plasticity at this critical age of development. So sleep specialists are right when they tell us to shoot for a regular bedtime.
That means, 15 minutes before bedtime, get all the drinks, snacks and potty time out of the way in order to have a pre-bedtime routine to help transition children to sleep. On weekends and in the summer, maybe an hour later is OK, but keep the time the same. Apparently, our internal clocks like consistency.