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Sleeping Less May Lead to Obesity

Posted Nov 10 2010 12:00am

We all know that it is essential to get the proper amount of sleep each night.  It can certainly be debatable to how much is enough. But when it comes to children it is extremely essential.  Setting an evening pattern that will teach them to go to bed at a certain hour every evening can ensure they get the amount required for their little bodies to function.  Conditioning them to stick to a schedule every evening will also give you the needed time to unwind after chasing them all day long.

As if sleeping the appropriate amount of hours to allow your body to regenerate and your mind to rest wasn't enough reason to follow a sleep schedule, now obesity comes into play.  According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reduced sleep time leads to increased energy consumption in the form of snacks.  They equate the reduced sleep time to be less than 6 hours of sleep, but in children it is less than 8 hours of sleep.  In other words, children who sleep less, will tend to eat more and will not expend the energy during those extra hours they are awake.

You're probably wondering what these children are doing that they are unable to burn off any energy.  Perhaps they are studying for an exam, but more often than not, they are texting, playing video games, on the computer or watching television.  All of those activities I just mentioned are sedentary, which simply means they are laying around and not expending the energy they should be expending. Snacking and sedentary activities are not a good combination and will not only lead to chronic overeating and weight gain, it can also lead to irritability, mental fatigue and reduced performance all due to the lack of sleep.

So what does this all mean? Quite simply ~ reduced sleep will lead to more snacking, which may result in obesity. This of course does not only apply to children, as adults we need at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep in order to function. So, let's put away that remote control and video games and let's set a schedule to get more sleep.

Remember we are the role models for our children, we must not simply say and not do.  Practice what you preach and get some sleep.

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