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Study: Irregular Bedtimes Could Lead To Behavioral Problems In Kids

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

CBS Connecticut (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The secret to improving your child’s behavior may be making sure they get to sleep at the same time every night.

As CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported, a new study found kids who do not have regular bedtimes are more likely to act out.

Tyler Flores does not go to bed at a regular time, and his mother said it shows. At 10 p.m., the 7-year-old often has no plans to sleep.

“I’m not tired and I never will be,” Tyler said.

His mother, Sofia Flores, said she Tyler’s father pushed his bedtime back to 9:30 p.m. But most nights, he goes to bed at midnight.

It is affecting the whole family.

“In the mornings, we always get upset or mad because he’s never on time,” Sofia Flores said. “He’s always tired.”

A new study in the journal Pediatrics found children who do not have regular bedtimes are more likely to have behavioral problems by age 7.

“Those behaviors would include things like hyperactivity, emotional problems, conduct problems and problems with their peers,” said study author Yvonne Kelly of University College in London.

Researchers said not having a set bedtime could disrupt natural body rhythms and the brain’s ability to mature.

On this particular night, Tyler finally conked out after 11 p.m. His mother said she has not noticed behavioral problems, but he is sometimes distracted in school.

“He loses concentration easily,” Sofia Flores said.

If your child is a night owl and acting out, researchers said the good news is the bad behavior can improve if your son or daughter gets on a schedule that includes regular bedtimes.

Experts recommended school-aged children get at least 10 hours of shut-eye each night. They said children will fall asleep easier if they avoid caffeine and do not have a TV or computer in their room.

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