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HHS HealthBeat (January 2, 2014)

Beating bedtime battles

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Getting a toddler to sleep can be hard, and a study indicates a reason may be found in the toddler’s body clock.

Monique LeBourgeois at the University of Colorado Boulder looked at levels of the hormone melatonin in toddlers. A rise in evening melatonin indicates the biological time people are best prepared for sleep.

LeBourgeois says kids who had more melatonin buildup before bedtime had less trouble getting to sleep. And she says toddlers started the buildup at different hours.

“We’re not suggesting that bedtime should be later for kids. We’re actually suggesting that parents be aware that the internal biological clock plays an important role as to when kids are ready to fall asleep.”

The study in the journal Mind, Brain and Education was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: January 2, 2014