Sleeping More May Help Kids Fight Obesity

It is now believed that children can fight obesity with the proper amount of sleep. In a study conducted by a professor of public health at Temple’s Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE), an increased amount of sleep meant less calorie consumption.  Although the decrease in caloric intake was an average of only 134 calories per day, this lowering of intake could have a significant lifetime impact. Our country is currently experiencing the highest rates of childhood obesity in history. Some of the main culprits of childhood obesity are drinks high in sugar, fast-food, unhealthy snacks, and convenience foods. Obesity causes lifelong health problems and can greatly impact mental health as well. The study was conducted on children from the ages of 8-11. In weeks of increased sleep, the children ate less, weighed less, and had lower levels of leptin. Leptin is a hormone that regulates energy intake and spending and can have an effect on weight because it regulates hunger. Researchers hope to make an impact on childhood obesity, and better sleep patterns might help keep weight lower.

“Findings from this study suggest that enhancing school-age children’s sleep at night could have important implications for prevention and treatment of obesity,” said Chantelle Hart, the director of the study. For children this means that getting a regular night’s sleep can benefit their health even more than previously indicated, including weight maintenance.

According to the CDC, the recommended amount of sleep for school-aged children is at least ten hours per day. While this is higher than the amount adults need, this is because their bodies are growing and need more maintenance. In addition, the right amount of sleep helps protect your child’s immune system. Some ways to maintain a regular sleep schedule include having your child keep a regular bedtime, keeping their bedrooms quiet and dark, and also avoiding big meals before bedtime.

This study has opened up opportunities for further study on sleep and childhood obesity. All in all, Hart says, “Given all of its documented benefits, in many ways, you can’t lose in promoting a good night’s sleep.”

If you are concerned about your child’s sleep habits and the effect these patterns have on overall health and weight, contact us FusionSleep to set up an appointment.