Bedtime routines child wellbeing and development

George Kitsaras, Michaela Goodwin, Julia L. Allan, Michael Kelly, Iain Pretty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bedtime routines has shown important associations with areas associated with child wellbeing and development. Research into bedtime routines is limited with studies mainly focusing on quality of sleep. The objectives of the present study were to examine the relationship between bedtime routines and a variety of factors associated with child wellbeing and to examine possible determinants of bedtime routines.

A total of 50 families with children between 3 and 5 years old took part in the study. Data on bedtime routines, parenting styles, school readiness, children’s dental health, and executive function were collected.

Children in families with optimal bedtime routines showed better performance in terms of executive function, specifically working memory (t (44)= − 8.51, p ≤ .001), inhibition and attention (t (48)= − 9.70, p ≤ .001) and cognitive flexibility (t (48)= − 13.1, p ≤ .001). Also, children in households with optimal bedtime routines scored higher in their readiness for school (t (48)= 6.92, p ≤ .001) and had better dental health (U = 85.5, p = .011). Parents in households with suboptimal bedtime routines showed worse performance on all measures of executive function including working memory (t (48)= − 10.47, p ≤ .001), inhibition-attention (t (48)= − 10.50, p ≤ .001) and cognitive flexibility (t (48)= − 13.6, p ≤ .001). Finally, parents with optimal bedtime routines for their children deployed a more positive parenting style in general (i.e. authoritative parenting) compared to those with suboptimal bedtime routines (t (48)= − 6.45, p ≤ .001).

The results of the present study highlight the potentially important role of bedtime routines in a variety of areas associated with child wellbeing and the need for further research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number386
Early online date21 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018


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