The researchers found that children who got less sleep were more likely to be overweight and have higher body mass index measures than those who got more sleep, even when factors such as race, ethnicity and parents’ income and educational level were considered. The study noted that sleep experts recommend that children ages 5 to 12 sleep for 10 to 11 hours a night and adolescents sleep for 8 to 9 hours. But the researchers said children in the study at age 7 on average got less than 10 hours of sleep on weekdays and at age 14 got 8.5 hours of sleep on weekdays.
The study did not try to determine why children who sleep less weigh more, but some theories that they put forth were because of hormone imbalances, additional time in the day to eat, or a lack of energy during exercise or play time.
Personally, I think that a regular sleeping schedule is the most important way to maintain good health no matter what your age, followed by finding and getting the amount of sleep that your body needs. What I do not understand is why elementary schools begin later than high schools, when the younger children tend to go to bed earlier and can wake up easier in the morning than teenagers who stay up later and need a full night’s sleep to support the growth of their bodies.
This is the first time that I have seen anybody make the claim that less sleep could lead to weight gain compared to peers who get enough sleep, but the premise certainly seems plausible. When I have children, my goal would be to have them get enough sleep to support their growing bodies and minds, and this is just one more reason why it is so important.
Thanks to Raising 4 Boys for the heads up.