A study, conducted by researchers at Public Health Ontario, Canada, found that fixing a strict bedtime routine for children ensures that they get sufficient sleep which is crucial for good physical and mental health.
Children should be forced to be in bed by a certain time during the week to make sure they get enough rest because lack of sleep leads to poor attention, worse grades, irritability and crankiness.
‘Children who get adequate sleep, show signs of excellence in academics, are well-mannered and stay healthy.’
Neither encouraging nor enforcing a bedtime had an effect on sleep at the weekend.
Dr. Heather Manson, of Public Health Ontario in Canada, said: “We found that ‘encouragement’ as a parental support was less effective for both weekend and weekdays sleep.”
“Enforcement of rules around bedtimes had a significant impact, but only on weekdays.”
“Parents enforcing a bedtime on the weekdays could help support their child to achieve sufficient sleep.”
The number of children meeting the guidelines increased between ages 5 and 9 years but declined between 10 and 17 years. Children aged 15 years old showed the greatest difference between weekday and weekend sleep, with 38.3 per cent fewer children meeting guidelines on the weekends compared to the weekdays.
Manson explained: “Sleep is increasingly being recognized as an important determinant of health and an integral component of healthy living for children, integrated with other behaviours such as physical activity and sedentary time.”
In the family context, parents’ support behaviours towards sleep could play an important role in their child’s health.
The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.