In years past, children had normal bedtimes that were set in stone and rarely ignored or changed. Before families began to rely on two incomes, the caretaker who stayed at home (primarily the mother), ensured that children had a full day and bedtimes were solidly set before 8PM. In modern times, there are just too many distractions that keep children awake, potentially, and make the job of parenting difficult.
Pods, pads, video games, phones, television with 300 channels and every other distraction known to man is readily available to keep kids from doing what should come natural: sleeping. Not only do these irregular, sporadic sleep patterns throw off the child's natural body balance, but it makes things for the parents difficult. Having to juggle work, home, school activities and other family functions is an arduous task as it is. Trying to put kids to bed who don't want to turn off their iPad or Android tablet is an ongoing challenge for some.
Studies show that irregular bedtimes are linked to behavioral problems, bad eating habits and study issues. Further, "A study published in Pediatrics reveals that arbitrary bedtimes can disturb body rhythms and regulating behaviors, and may play a role in sleep deprivation. One researcher compared the effects of irregular bedtimes to jet lag (Pediatric Magazine)."
According to a recent study in the United Kingdom, children who suffered most from this bedtime dilemma vary from age three, and seemed to get back to a regular pattern around age seven (with bedtimes between 7:30 and 8:30pm).
Though researchers see this issue as a reversible one, it is always a better practice to keep electronic distractions out of children's reach when bedtime is quickly approaching.
Science Daily, Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131014093859.htm