Next time your kids beg you to stay up late, don't give in! Sticking to an age-appropriate bedtime may make them smarter.
Researchers asked the parents of 8,000 four-year-olds for a rundown of their kids' usual bedtimes and wake times. The children were given a series of tests that measured their language, reading and math skills.
Surprise! The little ones who had a consistent, earlier bedtime scored better in all three areas. Those who got less sleep not only had lower scores, but also had a harder time understanding spoken language.
"Getting parents to set bedtime routines can be an important way to make a significant impact on children's emergent literacy and language skills,"said lead author Erika Gaylor, PhD, early childhood policy researcher for SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute in California. "Pediatricians can easily promote regular bedtimes with parents and children, behaviors which in turn lead to healthy sleep."The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommendations on sleep for each age group, babies through teens.
FYI: Another recent study found that children with a bedtime after 9 p.m. took longer to fall asleep and had a shorter total sleep time.