Sleep Care

Childhood Obesity and Sleep

It is well known that children need 9-11 hours of sleep each night to be healthy. However recent studies have shown that children who sleep less than 9-11 hours are at risk to become over-weight later in life. What might trouble parents even more is to learn that your child’s naps throughout the day are not sufficient in making-up for lost sleep during the night.

The study, which has been conducted over the last 13 years and included 1,930 children throughout the U.S., showed that children sleeping less than recommended were between 33-36% more likely to be overweight. Additional studies show that inadequate amounts of sleep predispose children to a number of negative health consequences, including such conditions as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and obesity. The results “suggest that there is a critical window prior to age 5 years when nighttime sleep may be important for subsequent obesity status,” concluded authors of one study, Janice F. Bell of the University of Washington in Seattle, and Frederick J. Zimmerman of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Napping is a commonly used tool by parents to make-up for their children’s lost sleep throughout the day. However, studies show that naps do not allow children to achieve the deep sleep that provides mental and physical restoration. Creating a consistent bed-time routine that will provide children with a sufficient amount of nighttime sleep will be the best tool in keeping children healthy.


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