Sleeping Late Makes Children Overweight

A latest study published in Acta Paediatrica has found that children who go to bed late at night are at greater risk of gaining extra weight.

Dr. Yaqoot Fatima, from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research, in collaboration with James Cook University, conducted this study in children to determine the relationship of sleep schedule with their weight gain.

For this research, the researchers examined data of 1,250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with ages ranging from 5-8 years.

The results of the study reveal that the children who were regularly sleeping late at night were at increased risk of gaining weight or becoming obese when compared with children who were regularly going to bed early. The earliest bedtime for sleep was 7 pm on weekdays and on weekends it was 9:30 pm. The study not only concentrated on the duration of the sleep but also on the timings of it to see if it played any major role in children’s weight.

Dr. Fatima says:

Compared with early sleepers, children we might describe as ‘night owls’ were on average 1.5kg to 2.5kg heavier at followup three years later. Excessively focusing on sleep duration as the sole measure of healthy sleep would not be sufficient to achieve better health outcomes in children.

The researchers believe that the findings were strong to adjust for determinants of obesity such as eating habits. The team will collaborate with the people to talk about results and find input in making sleep recommendations for children.

Source: National Sleep Foundation

Dr. Fatima says that 30% of the study population was unfortunately residing in far areas, which increased the chances of poor sleep as the distance makes it harder to convey them updated information. It is extremely important to share information with parents, caretakers and health service providers so that they can make a good and regular schedule for healthy sleep.

UQ Associate Professor Abdullah Mamun was the co-author of the study along with colleagues from La Trobe University and University of Western Australia. The scientists appreciated the response of children and families in the study and thanked the Australian government’s Department of Social Services for providing access to the data.

Source: Sleep for Kids

According to UK’s NHS, the amount of sleep required by children varies according to their age. Five years old children need at least 11 hours of sleep daily, six years old need 10 hours and 45 minutes, seven years old need 10 hours and 30 minutes, eight years old need 10 hours and 15 minutes, nine years old need 10 hours of sleep, and 10 years old need 9 hours and 45 minutes of sleep daily.

Source: Sleep Education

Poor sleep patterns could affect the cognitive development of children. If their sleep pattern is disturbed, it can affect their behavior and learning capabilities.

Sleep Tips for School Children

  • Avoid giving caffeine to children
  • Place the TV and computer outside the bedroom
  • The bedroom should be cool, quiet and dark
  • Inform children about healthy sleep habits

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