By: Nicholas Gorra; Published February 17, 2020.


The answer is – we all do. But there is more to it; we, especially children, need to establish a bedtime routine to get a good night’s sleep.

Researchers at the University College London found a clear clinical and statistically significant link between bedtimes and behavior. Irregular bedtimes affected children’s behavior by disrupting circadian rhythms (body clock), leading to sleep deprivation that affects the developing brain. As children progressed through early childhood without a regular bedtime, their behavioral scores – which included hyperactivity, conduct problems, problems with peers and emotional difficulties – worsened. .

Research also shows sleep disruption — “even for just one night — leads to a dangerous level of sleepiness that decreases your performance at school or on the job, but also places you at greater risk for accidents at work, at home, or while driving.”  Sleep deprivation “makes us slower to respond to important information around us, less attentive, and disrupts mood and memory as well.”  Moreover, research points to the fact that “chronic short or disrupted sleep is associated with weight gain, obesity, development of diabetes, heart disease, and even depression.” By: Cote, Kimberly. Maclean’s. 5/2/2016, Vol. 129 Issue 17, p45-45. 1/3p. Why do we need sleep anyway?

Why does sleep affect our health and our behavior – “because Sleep is a homeostatic process that has a restorative effect on the brain and determines individual alertness”. (Saper, Scammell, & Lu, 2005; Weinger & Ancoli-Israel, 2002). “Total or partial sleep deprivation represents an induced state of reduced cognitive capacity”. (Barnes & Hollenbeck, 2009) “The Lack of sleep causes individuals often to act impulsively, engage in interpersonally inappropriate behaviors, and not to adhere to social norms.” (Harrison & Horne, 2000; Horne, 1993; Reynolds & Schiffbauer, 2004).

Here are a few ways to determine if you are getting enough sleep.

Are You Getting Enough Shut-Eye?

The answer is no if at least two of these statements describe you

1. I need an hour or more to fall asleep.

2. I nod off at inopportune moments (at meetings, at movies, while taking magazine quizzes).

3. I’m useless if I don’t drink a few cups of coffee during the day.

4. sleep longer on weekends than during the week.

5. I regularly feel sleepy even after eight to 10 hours of sleep.

6. I’m a new parent.

Sleep Your Way to Success. By: Futrelle, David, Money, 01494953, Nov2006, Vol. 35, Issue 11

Here are 5 techniques to help improve your sleep habits:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help.
  4. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Turn Your Bedroom into a Sleep-Inducing Environment. A quiet, dark, and cool environment can help promote sound slumber. Makesure your bedroom is well-ventilated and that temperatures range between 60-67 degrees (F).  Make sure that you have a comfortable mattress and pillow.