Regular bedtime linked to better language skills

Islamabad, October 15 (Newswire): Having a regular bedtime ensures development of language, reading and maths skills among four-year-old children, says a new study.

The study also provides a wealth of information about typical sleep patterns in such children. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) prescribes a minimum of 11 hours of sleep every night for preschool children.

Getting less than this recommended amount of sleep was associated with lower scores on phonological awareness, literacy and early math skills.

The data show that many children are not getting the recommended amount of sleep, which may have negative consequences for their development and school achievement.

“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, early childhood policy researcher for SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, California.

Gaylor recommended that parents can help their preschooler get sufficient sleep by setting an appropriate time for their child to go to bed and interacting with their child at bedtime using routines such as reading books or telling stories.

The study involved a nationally representative sample of approximately 8,000 children who completed a direct assessment at four years of age as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort.

This analysis included information from parent phone interviews when their child was nine months old and again when their child was four-years-old, said an AASM release. “This is by far the largest study of its kind to date. Previous studies have included up to 500 children in this age group,” Gaylor said.

“It’s fortunate to have this rich dataset available for analysis”.