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Sleep is going to be an issue for any parent - usually because we're never going to get quite enough of it as we're up all night dutifully feeding, changing nappies, or rocking the little one back to bed.

Of course, your own levels of sleep are inextricably linked to the sleeping patterns of your child, and a new study has shown that too little sleep for your little one can be a risk factor for future behavioural difficulties.

On July 10, a study in the Journal of Development and Behavioral Paediatrics found that under-fives with shorter than average sleep times have increased rates of some behavioural problems.

"Preschool children with shorter night time sleep duration had higher odds of parent-reported overactivity, anger, aggression, impulsivity, tantrums, and annoying behaviours," the report stated.

Researchers led by Rebecca J. Scharf of the University of Virginia found the average bedtime of children in the sample study was 20:39 with a wake up time of 07:13, creating a mean sleep time of approximately ten and a half hours. In addition, 11 per cent of children were found to have "short sleep duration" of less than nine hours and 45 minutes.

Boys were more affected as well as children who watched more than two hours of television each day, as well as those who had mothers who reported depression. The specific behaviour that appeared the most in short sleep duration children was increased aggression.

The positive that comes from this study is that if you're dealing with this issue, now you know one of the possible causes and have the opportunity to turn it around by making sure your young one gets more sleep.

Has this issue affected you or your child? Do you have any tips on how to get a little one to sleep more easily, and for longer?



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