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Lack of Sleep May Lead to Fatter Kids

Posted Apr 01 2009 3:48pm

" Here's another reason to get the kids to bed early: More sleep may lower their risk of becoming obese. Researchers have found that every additional hour per night a third-grader spends sleeping reduces the child's chances of being obese in sixth grade by 40 percent. ..." Interesting! There is a definite hormonal connection between sleep and appetite regulation and this delicate balance can be thrown off by not getting enough sleep that the body needs. Ghrelin is a hormone that suppresses appetite and is increased in sleep-deprived individuals; leptin, which signals fullness, in diminished. Another contributing factor is that if they are tired, they are also more likely to sit in front of the TV or play video games and eat (in other words "veg" on the couch) and much less likely to be active. According to this study, for third graders, the magical number was about 9 1/2 hours of sleep per 24 hours (includes day time naps and nighttime). While this study is important, don't forget that this is just one aspect of many that need to be included in a child's schedule of a healthy lifestyle.
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