Preschoolers’ Sleep Time Could Lead to Teen Obesity
We all need sleep, but most adults aren’t getting enough of it – or at least enough of the restful, restorative variety. Between our hectic schedules, technology-overloaded lives and overworked brains, falling asleep at the right time – and just as importantly, staying asleep – can be a real challenge in the modern world.
But what about preschoolers; are they getting enough sleep these days? It seems like it would be easy, what with all the energy the average preschooler expends on a given day. When they’re not getting adequate sleep, the consequence is a dire one, suggests research: teen obesity.
The study tracked nearly 1,000 healthy children from age 4 until age 15, with parents reporting usual weekday bedtimes at the start of the study period. When comparing children’s weight at age 15, researchers discovered children who went to bed at 8:00 p.m. on weekdays were the least likely to be obese as teens. Preschoolers with a weekday bedtime between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. had a higher risk of teen obesity, while preschoolers with an average weekday bedtime later than 9:00 p.m. had the highest risk of being obese as teenagers.
The message is simple: Get your kids to bed! Besides helping prevent obesity, adequate sleep reduces stress, improves performance and has a variety of other proven benefits. Talk to your doctor to learn more, and click here for tips to help get kids the sleep they need.