Sleeping habits key to healthy children, studies say

November 1, 2012 No Comments »
Sleeping habits key to healthy children, studies say

New studies have discovered links between sleeping habits and children’s health.

According to Science Daily, a study published in the Canadian Medical Journal Association states adolescents with poor sleeping habits are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease as adults.

We found an association between sleep disturbance and cardiovascular risk in adolescents, as determined by high cholesterol levels, increased BMI [body mass index] and hypertension,” writes lead author Dr. Indra Narang, respirologist and director of sleep medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario, with coauthors. “These findings are important, given that sleep disturbance is highly prevalent in adolescence and that cardiovascular disease risk factors track from childhood into adulthood.”

Additionally, a recent CBC News article cites 18 studies published over 15 years in stating that not having regular sleep patterns and getting less than six hours of sleep a night causes weight gain. Researchers say lack of sleep results in reduced insulin sensitivity and changes to hormones, which can affect appetites and lead to overeating.

In terms of how to make sure your kids do get a good night’s sleep, the answer may lie in getting screens out of the bedroom. According to the University of Alberta study referenced in this Globe and Mail article, kids who keep screens (TVs, computers, video game consoles, cellphones, etc.) in their bedrooms have worse sleep habits than kids who don’t.

The more screens kids have at bed time, the worse it is for their health, the research suggests. Access to one gizmo made it 1.47 times more likely for a kid to be overweight compared with a child with no tech. Kids with three devices were 2.57 times more likely to be overweight.

[O]ne extra hour of sleep reduced the chances of being overweight by 28 per cent and cut the odds of being obese by 30 per cent.”

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