Enforcing bedtime rules may be an important factor in helping kids maintain healthy weight levels. A comprehensive research review of 42 studies with 75,499 participants, conducted by University of Warwick researchers in Coventry, England, found that short sleep durations in infants, children and adolescents were a risk factor for gaining weight and developing obesity. Data analysis showed that children and teens who slept less than others of the same age gained more weight as they grew older and were more likely to become overweight or obese.

“Being overweight can lead to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes,
which is also on the increase in children,” said lead study author Michelle
A. Miller, PhD. “The findings of this study indicate that sleep may be an important,
potentially modifiable risk factor (or marker) of future obesity.”

The National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C., recommends different sleep durations for different age groups, as shown in the chart.

Children who slept less than these amounts were defined as short sleepers. Study authors think that, for weight management, getting enough sleep is as important as healthy eating and exercise.

The study is available in Sleep (2018; doi:10.1093/sleep/zsy018).

SLEEP DURATIONS FOR DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS

Sleep

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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