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Night Night

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For your children, a regular bedtime is about more than making sure there’s enough time for another session of Goodnight Moon.

Parents have long believed kids do better with regular bedtimes and a good night’s sleep. A British study proves it. The study found a good night’s sleep may make your kid smarter.

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at the night-night time and school performance of more than 11,000 kids, at ages 3, 5, and 7. Those who didn’t have a regular bedtime didn’t do as well in school:
They did worse in math and reading, and had more problems with spatial ability – the ability mentally to manipulate two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures.

Another interesting finding: not having a regular bedtime time affected girls more than boys.

So: how much sleep is enough? The study says for most 7 year olds, 10 to 11 hours is sufficient. The Mayo Clinic supports this and suggests children get nine to eleven hours of sleep each night, plus two to three hours of naps for infants and toddlers.

So stand firm, parents! Don’t give in to temper tantrums or pitiful pleading when kids want to stay up longer. A regular bedtime is important. It helps the body’s circadian rhythm --its own internal clock-- stay regular.

And by the way, Mom and Dad: You could benefit from having a regular bedtime, too.