Children who sleep more are less likely to be obese, according to a study published online in Pediatrics.
How does this work?
According to Dr. David Gozal of the University of Chicago, children who sleep less than their peers may be at greater risk for abnormal glucose levels and other metabolic problems.
From The New York Times :
Researchers studied the sleep patterns of 308 children ages 4 to 10, half of them overweight or obese. They used wrist monitors to measure their sleep time over seven days, and did blood tests for cardiovascular risk indicators like glucose, lipids, insulin and C-reactive protein.
The study, published in the February issue of Pediatrics, found that obesity and abnormal blood tests were four times as common in children who slept the least, and three times as common in those who used the weekend to catch up on sleep lost during school days.
“We can’t rule out that obese children first became obese and then started sleeping less,” said Dr. David Gozal, the senior author. “But it’s unlikely.”
Among all children, obese or not, shorter sleep and greater variability in sleep patterns were more likely to be associated with abnormal blood tests. The researchers conclude that irregular sleep by itself may be a risk factor for metabolic problems.
Yes, We Like It When Our Kids Sleep More!
Most parents can probably willing to vouch for the fact that sleeping longer hours is good for children and for parents.
But interestingly, Gozal’s team found that even though busy weekday schedules can cut into sleep time, it’s possible to make up for this with extra sleep on the weekends, which can also lower the kids’ risk of obesity.
Sleep is good for you! (Presumably the same directive also applies to adults.)
Photo credit: Miikas via Creative Commons