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Sleep Habits Affect Cognitive Ability In Some Children

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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Yvonne Kelly of University College, London, looked at research between sleep habits and cognitive ability. While there were studies involving adolescents and adults, all showing that inconsistent sleeping schedules were related to poor academic performance, there was little involving children.

Kelly and her colleagues examined bedtimes and cognitive abilities of more than 11,000 youngsters in Britain, going to homes of those nine months, three, five and seven years. Families were asked about bedtimes and all but the infants took standardized tests in reading, math and spatial relations, from which IQs were estimated.

By the time the kids reached seven, not having a regular bedtime did affect cognition; girls with regular bedtimes scored eight or nine times more than those who did not. Boys were not affected. While irregular bed times left them about six points below their counterparts at age three, the distinction vanished by age seven.

Read more in The Economist.