Children who get less than nine hours of sleep a night are more likely to be overweight or obese, according to researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Sleep-deprived kids also have more than a 3 percent increase in body fat on average compared to youngsters who sleep for more than nine hours nightly.
The researchers also reported that children's sleep patterns vary by season and day. Children sleep fewer hours in the summer and on weekends, according to the study.
Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand studied the sleep patterns of 591 seven-year-old children using actigraphy -- a movement-based, noninvasive method used to study sleep-wake patterns and circadian rhythms. The children were assessed at birth, at one year of age, at three-and-a-half years and at seven years.
The team found that the children slept 10.1 hours on average. They slept fewer hours on weekend days than on weekdays, in the summer and when bedtime was set as after 9 p.m. They also slept fewer hours if they had no younger siblings.
In addition to increased weight and body fat, shorter sleep periods correlated with more emotional volatility, reported the research team.
This is very interesting. I think it may go for adults as well. Though I don't know of any adults who get to sleep that many hours. I know if I have a short or sleepless night I tend to eat more and my energy level is lower so I tend to do less. It only makes sense it would be the same for kids.