The study showed that those children who demonstrated irregular bedtimes up to the age of three were the most negatively affected when it came to 3 important skills:
- math skills
- spatial awareness
Over times these kids were followed and researchers found that they continued to lag developmentally even by the age of seven. In the study, girls were more adversely affected than boys.
The study concluded that sleep is extremely important in the the first three years of a child's life in relation to brain development.
Incidently this study is similar to a Canadian study (published in the Journal Sleep) conducted in 2008 that showed similar patterns. Children who slept less than 10 hours at night before age 3 were more likely to exhibit language and reading problems.
One important fact about why it is important for a child to have adequate sleep: In both studies, these developmental problems persisted despite improvement in total sleep time after the age of three.
Source: Sleep Critically Affects Childhood Brain Development
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