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Study Shows Link Between Child Behavior And Sleep

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Many parents find that bedtime is a battle. Most children like to stay up late– but a new study shows why it could be a bad idea.

Fiona Todd, 7, is a bundle of energy and so is her soccer-playing brother, Carson.

Their mom makes sure they slow down in the evening and get a good night’s sleep. If they don’t, mornings are often a challenge.

“Nothing is running smoothly, they’re agitated, they’re tired, they’re cranky. Then they start acting up together. It’s just not a smooth morning,” says mother Roseann Todd.

A new study published in the Journal Pediatrics backs her up. It shows that more sleep leads to a better day at school.

“For children who had just 27 minutes more sleep for five consecutive nights, there was actually an improvement in their mood and their behavior the next day,” says Dr. Alanna Levine.

Children ages 7 to 11 who slept an hour less each night were less alert and had a harder time handling their emotions and controlling impulsive behavior.

The findings present a challenge for today’s busy families– How do you fit in a full day of school plus activities and homework and still get enough sleep?

Doctors say for younger children, the goal should be ten to eleven hours of sleep. Parents can help, with a healthy bedtime routine.

“You want to limit things that would be stimulating to a child.  This would be television use in the two hours prior to bed, you want to limit computer time and texting time on the cell phone,” Dr. Levine says.

Roseann Todd makes the sleep routine a priority.

“Bed is sometimes a struggle, but it’s my goal because they need sleep,” Todd says.

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