Published on October 14, 2013 at 4:58 AM
"But our findings suggest the effects are reversible," continued Professor Kelly. "For example, children who change from not having to having regular bedtimes show improvements in their behaviour."
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 the children went to bed regularly between 7.30 and 8.30 pm. Children whose bedtimes were irregular or who went to bed after 9 pm came from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds, and this was factored into the study findings.
Professor Kelly said: "As it appears the effects of inconsistent bedtimes are reversible, one way to try and prevent this would be for health care providers to check for sleep disruptions as part of routine health care visits. Given the importance of early childhood development on subsequent health, there may be knock-on effects across the life course. Therefore, there are clear opportunities for interventions aimed at supporting family routines that could have important lifelong impacts."
Source: University College London