(HealthDay News) – Children with irregular bedtimes are more likely to have behavioral difficulties, while switching to regular bedtimes significantly improves behavior, according to a study published online Oct. 14 in Pediatrics.

Yvonne Kelly, PhD, from University College London, and colleagues examined the association between bedtimes and changes in behavior in 10,230 children with bedtime data at 3, 5, and 7 years of age and behavioral assessments by mothers and teachers.

The researchers found that behavioral scores from both mothers and teachers significantly worsened in children with irregular bedtimes. In contrast, children who switched from irregular to regular bedtimes had significant improvements in behavioral scores, while children who switched from regular to irregular bedtimes between 5–7 years of age had significant worsening of scores.

“Having regular bedtimes during early childhood is an important influence on children’s behavior,” Kelly and colleagues conclude.

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