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Bedtime and sleep times for kids can feel like pure chaos, pushing many moms to consider allowing their little ones to sleep when they want. However, to do so could be detrimental to your child’s development.

For quite a while, there has been a lot of debate surrounding whether consistent bedtimes are the way to go, or if you should just allow your children to sleep on their terms or even yours. However, a growing body of research is indicating that a lack of consistency is a recipe for disaster. A recent study out of the UK observed the bedtimes of 10,000 kids between the ages of 3 and 7.

What they found was that with the kids who had irregular bedtimes, versus a consistent bedtime, there were major behavioral differences.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics and found that around 20% of parents don’t prescribe a set bedtime. Additionally, they observed higher rates of unhappiness, inconsiderate behaviors, and aggression among those without a typical bedtime.

Yvonne Kelly, a lead researcher on the study, said that when you put your child to bed at 8 one night and 10 another, they end up with social jet lag, regardless of the number of hours they are sleeping.

“Without ever getting on a plane, a child’s bodily systems get shuffled through different time zones, and their circadian rhythms and hormonal systems take a hit as a result,” she explained in an article published by the Conversation.

Thankfully, though, the effects are reversible, she says. “This shows that it’s never too late to help children back onto a positive path, and a small change could make a big difference to how well they get on,” she explains.

Other studies have found that irregular bedtimes don’t just cause ‘jet lag’ but also can cause obesity, low self-esteem, and cause lower academic performance.

The next time you are struggling at bedtime and are considering just letting them stay up, versus sticking to your routine, this is something to keep in mind.