The focus of this study is to assess the link between sleep duration, bedtime consistency, and school readiness among a nationally representative sample of preschool-age children in the United States.
A sample of 15,402 preschool-age children (3 to 5 years old) from the 3 most recent cohorts (2016–2018) of the National Survey of Children's Health was used. Information about sleep duration, bedtime consistency, and school readiness was obtained from surveys administered to primary caregivers. Four distinct domains of school readiness were examined: early learning skills, self-regulation, social-emotional development, and physical health and motor development.
The findings reveal that children who obtain 7 or fewer hours of sleep per night exhibit significant reductions in school readiness both within and across all 4 domains. Similar but more modest patterns emerge among children with inconsistent bedtimes.
Given the potential implications of young children's sleep for school readiness, pediatricians should be prepared and trained to effectively counsel parents about children's sleep patterns during routine well-child visits. Future research should examine whether improvements in sleep hygiene education for parents, behavioral sleep interventions, and/or later school start times once children enter preschool might enhance school readiness by improving children's health and well-being as they enter school.