Spending more time on screens, staying up late and sleeping late may require some adjustments for the start of the school year, reports the New York Times.

Two sleep specialists, in Cincinnati and London, published an editorial, “Perils and promise for child and adolescent sleep and associated psychopathology during the Covid-19 pandemic,” at the end of May in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Stephen P. Becker and Alice M. Gregory discussed possible impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s sleep, arguing that because of the importance of sleep for many aspects of children’s well-being, ranging from mental health to immunological well-being and disease resistance, it would be important to look closely at how sleep might be changing, for children and for adolescents, at whether those changes are problematic when children have to return to school, and at which factors are associated with better — and worse — sleep.

In a study published in late July in the Journal of Sleep Research, researchers looked at how 1,619 children in China were doing in terms of sleep. The children, ages 4, 5 and 6, were recruited from 11 preschools in the province of Guizhou, in the city of Zunyi, about 650 miles from Wuhan. Parents and caregivers completed a questionnaire about how the children were sleeping during their time “sheltering at home” in February, after the children had been confined at home for nearly a month. The reported sleep patterns were compared to a similar group in 2018.

Dr. Zhijun Liu, an associate professor in the department of applied psychology at Zunyi Medical University who was the lead author on the study, said in an email that the expectation had been that the confinement would have a negative effect on children’s sleep: “Here in China, most families underwent days of confinement to cope with the pandemic, which means much less outdoor activities, less face-to-face interpersonal communications and even less sunlight for some of them than usual.” Both parents and children spent more time on electronic devices and less time moving around. He continued, “Living in a limited room is usually no good for one’s mood either.”

Get the full story at nytimes.com.